Video: DRC Prime Minister Expresses "Singular Attachment to Family Planning"

In an introductory video at the 4th International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) auxiliary event, "The Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC's) emergence and family planning leadership through 2030," Prime Minister Matata Ponyo of the Democratic Republic of the Congo committed to family planning at the highest level. Read the full story, watch his speech in French, and read the translated English transcription here:

Excellences, distinguished guests,

I was unfortunately unable to join you for this exceptional event. However, I would like to express my singular attachment to family planning. This issue constitutes a priority for my country, the Republic Democratic of Congo. Through family planning, we understand the central role of people as a main actor of development. This is why we are deploying combined efforts in the economy, justice, security, education and health sectors.

To better serve the Congolese population and ensure the emergence of the country as early as 2030, my government, under the leadership of the President of the Republic Joseph Kabila Kabange, has envisioned an ambitious program of reforms that will create the enabling conditions to favor the socio-economic development of our country.

The DRC’s road towards achieving its development objectives is outlined through the implementation of the National Strategic Plan for Development, the operational component of which is the Government’s Action Plan.

To this end, a timeline of deliverables has been set. It anticipates that between 2012 and 2020, the Democratic Republic of Congo will become an intermediary-income country, based on the transformation of agriculture. From 2021 to 2030, the Democratic Republic of Congo strives to rise to the rank of emerging countries, through the intensive industrialization of its economy. From 2031 to 2050, my country should further develop due to the creation of a society based on knowledge dissemination.

To reach these objectives, efforts need to focus both on increasing growth and production, and family planning. We are completely conscious, indeed, that uncontrolled population growth could constitute a hindering factor.

Demographic projections indicate that by 2030, the Congolese population will double, and by 2050, the DRC will have over 250 million inhabitants. Actions combining youth education, healthcare coverage, and the provision of family planning services can significantly slow down this trend.

Slowing down population growth, coupled with the improvement of human capital and governance, will have favorable effects on economic growth and poverty reduction in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

To this end, my government commits to reach a contraceptive prevalence of at least 19% by 2020, 39% in 2030 and about 50% by 2050.

Under the leadership of His Hon. Joseph Kabila Kabange, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, my government has initiated ambitious projects, with the objective of significantly improving the quality of life of the population through better access to education and health services.

In the education sector, schooling rates have increased and gender equality has noticeably improved. However, additional efforts must be deployed to ensure that all children, both boys and girls, have easy access to school. In addition to rebuilding and modernizing school infrastructures, the government commits to improve the quality of school programs and training of teachers.

In the health sector, major progress has also been recorded in recent years, particularly in the fields of vaccination, the fight against malaria and tuberculosis. Nevertheless, reforms must still be operated in order to ensure universal health coverage for the whole Congolese population.

The government is aware of the need to further expand access to health services, increase disease prevention, and improve service delivery from health providers in order to reduce maternal and child mortality. To do so, my government has adhered to the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health, for the period of 2016-2030, as recommended by the Secretary General of the United Nations.

In this regard, we reaffirm our commitment to do everything in our power to reduce by at least 50% the maternal, child and youth mortality rates by 2030. We also commit to develop new policies in adolescents’ sexual health, early marriages, children’s treatment, gender equity promotion and family planning. We commit to establish subsidies mechanisms in favor of family planning as well as emergency obstetric care for the most vulnerable. Eventually, we commit to increase public spending for health, in order to increase the health and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents.

The challenge ahead is immense, but can be taken on. Considering the trends of improved security, furthering of reforms, improvement of governance, strengthening and inclusiveness of growth, and diversification of the economy’s production base, the Democratic Republic of Congo will achieve important progress in human development by 2030, when the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are due to reach their term. The benefits resulting from investing in family planning will support further investment in the key sectors of education, environment, habitat, and so on.

The Congolese ministerial delegation present at the conference will have the opportunity to present in further details the concrete actions led by the government of the DRC in their respective sectors.

Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, I thank you for your kind attention.

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