By Enitan Okediji

large group photo featuring DRC Ministers and Harvard faculty
The DRC delegation gathered with faculty and staff from Harvard's Center for International Development and Center for African Studies.

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.  

Asim Khwaja speaking at a table
CID Faculty Director Asim I. Khwaja welcoming the DRC delegation.

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.

African ministers presenting while sitting at a table
Members of the DRC delegation reacting to presentations from presenting faculty.

Faculty Presentations  

Faculty engaged with the delegation on the following topics: 

Climate and Sustainability by Jim Stock (Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability at Harvard University)  

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)  

Traditional Customs, Governance, and Social Cohesion by Nathan Nunn (University of British Columbia) and Sara Lowes (University of California at San Diego)  

Water and Sanitation by Kevin Croke (Harvard University)  

Training and Building Organizational Capacity by Teddy Svoronos and Matt Andrews (Harvard University)  

Economic Growth Strategies by Ricardo Hausmann (Harvard University)  

Gender and Peace, Conflict, and Security by Zoe Marks (Harvard University)  

4 photos of individuals presenting while seated at a table

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. 

Image Credits

Giro DiBiase

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