By Enitan Okediji
On September 19, 2023, as part of the Harvard University – Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Summit led by the Center for African Studies, the Center for International Development (CID) hosted a “CID Development Dialogue” with key development faculty at Harvard and beyond on the research and work underway in the DRC. The dialogue dived into the research currently being done in the DRC and explored ways the delegation could engage with researchers to advance shared development priorities in the DRC across public, private, and academic sectors.
Setting the Stage
The dialogue kicked off with introductory remarks from Professor Emmanuel Akyeampong. He referenced his visit earlier this year to the DRC and the importance of academic engagement and partnership across key sectors to support development in the DRC.
Asim I. Khwaja, CID Faculty Director, and Fatema Sumar, CID Executive Director, provided an overview of the center and its mission to build a thriving world for all. Khwaja underscored the importance of recognizing talent and investing in communities to build a world where individuals can reach their full potential. He previewed the academic research underway in DRC by a number of faculty and the importance of using evidence for public policy decision-making.
The DRC delegation included senior representatives from the University of Lubumbashi, University of Kinshasa, École National D’Administration (ENA), United Nations University, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Equity Banque Commerciale du Congo (EquityBCDC), Régie de Distribution d'Eau (REGIDESO), Ernst & Young, Entreprise Générale du Cobalt SA, ProximA Legal, Vodacom Congo, Nganda Hospital Center, and Casey Family.
The delegation expressed their interest in leveraging technology for economic development in the DRC, strengthening collaboration in the mining sector, and exploring opportunities for capacity building, leadership training, and research fellowships.
Faculty engaged with the delegation on the following topics:
Building Fiscal Capacity, Political Participation, Role of Local Leaders, & Optimal Tax Rates by Augustin Bergeron (University of Southern California), Gabriel Tourek (University of Pittsburgh), Jonathan Weigl (University of Berkeley), and Anders Jensen (Harvard University)
Water and Sanitation by Kevin Croke (Harvard University)
Economic Growth Strategies by Ricardo Hausmann (Harvard University)
Gender and Peace, Conflict, and Security by Zoe Marks (Harvard University)
Call to Action
In closing, Khwaja urged both faculty members and the DRC delegation to maintain open lines of communication to explore collaboration opportunities. “Our objective is to deepen our engagement with Africa by establishing partnerships, so we want to see more of you here at Harvard,” he said.