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instrument for promoting democracy and community development/(By Aaron Lutete, Technical Director of CERPECS)

  1. Democracy and sustainable development:

Democracy is one of the fundamental factors of sustainable economic development. This is achieved through a virtuous circle in which economic development brings more democracy, while the latter conditions the pursuit of economic progress.

In an integrated global economy where financial crises in one country or region are increasingly likely to spread to the whole planet, democracy – in its broadest and deepest sense – represents the best guarantee against economic instability, both nationally and internationally.

Indeed, civil liberties promote the establishment of mechanisms for monitoring deviations from democratic standards and economic governance criteria. (M. Mikko Elo, 1999)

Obviously, democratic values ​​should be promoted in the economy at the same time as on the civic or political level. The various purely economic elements or values ​​embodying democracy can only be applied through a systematic symbiosis. This implies the civic expression of each citizen in economic activities.

We have to recognize that by giving a democratic form to the economy, beyond civic rights, the socio-economic structures serve the interests of the population by promoting the production and income of the different social strata.

Also, an economy that is based on the creation of the perfect conditions of freedom and life for each individual within society, at the same time reflects the civic expression of each citizen.

Contrary to this ideal world, the liberal economic system that inspires public policies in Africa does not ensure the improvement of collective well-being. Beyond the improvement of macroeconomic indicators, the market economy reinforces income inequalities and, as a corollary, no longer succeeds in boosting the democratic political system to a degree that frees mass consumption. Thus, most African countries are trapped in a kind of poverty trap. (Tunzi V., 2008)

Worse still, development experts insidiously perpetuate the ideological alienation of the African, by postulating, in their paradigm of economic recovery, the notion of a poverty trap in which certain countries would be trapped, and which would require a massive mobilization of the international public aid. Against their will, Africans can only conceive of their development through the prism of this approach of external assistance.

Paradoxically, economic liberalism tends to establish an oligarchic political system juxtaposing, according to Veblen’s postulate, a privileged class which sterilizes a large part of the national income, and the common people who cannot constitute a solvent demand for national producers. . (Lutete A. 2018)

  1. Need to restore the cooperative and solidarity economy

Today, the socio-economic structures in Africa have deteriorated and become so disjointed that they cannot facilitate the exploitation of its potential for the well-being of the populations.

Faced with the persistence of hereditary factors that weigh on economic growth as well as the fierce competition imposed by globalization, the question of development no longer consists simply of improving overall economic results, but rather of vigorously reforming socio-economic structures. economy in order to increase the income of the poorest segments of the population.

With particular regard to the rural world, institutions should be put in place to take charge of the coordination and integration of agricultural activities, for the purpose of promoting the interests of producers and consumers by eliminating third-party intermediaries, free riders or loan sharks. , which lengthen the distribution chain and increase the cost. (www.cerpec-cooperative.com)

Agricultural development, therefore, will not happen in Africa until farmers participate in policies and decisions affecting rural areas. Political slogans, the realization of large agro-industrial projects or even the improvement of roads and rural infrastructures will not bring anything, as long as the agricultural populations are not federated in the local assemblies deliberating on all the questions related to the development of their localities. . (Lutete A.2007)

To crown the paradox, the African elites are forcing the peoples back into their places of origin with a view to resuming the battle for development, hitherto lost at the national or regional level, abandoning the possibilities of exchanges and equalization likely to contribute to the exploitation of development potential and assets on a national scale.

Instead of federating their efforts to build, at the national level, a State that must set up a solidarity economy and play the “redistributive” and stabilizing roles in it, Africans tend to divide themselves into primitive groupings based on the people, the phratry and tribe. These ethnically decentralized entities privilege personal relationships, thereby diluting political power and curbing any democratic momentum by confiscating civil liberties, since these transcendental values ​​cannot be promoted in such subnational constituencies. (Lutete A. 2018)

The tendency to racial, ethnic and religious discrimination is a sign of the failure of economic strategies, institutions, African society and international cooperation. Africa is thus recording a decline in the yield of all the factors of production, especially in the tertiary sector, particularly in informal activities, and cannot ensure the well-being of the population, for lack of an integrated market served by of production ensuring a “rational” development of local resources according to national needs.

This sectarianism encourages the pursuit of fragmented objectives which slow down the process of modernizing the State, while delaying the adoption of technological and managerial innovations (budgetary orthodoxy and financial discipline), and reinforcing, what is worse, the rejection of universal standards of democracy and governance.

The cooperative reform fortunately erases this fear of a return to counterproductive sectarianism, because the populations restore in the cooperatives the framework of solidarity allowing them to directly reap the fruits of their efforts, better, they are, as members, inclined to improve their productivity for a proportionally increasing income. (RTNC/Emission Parlons Economie https: youtu.be/b-zpqnoHHQ4

  1. Contribution of the cooperative system in the establishment of democracy and community development

The cooperative system is the royal road to building an economy with democratic values. It is an economic system based on the unitary and integrating organization of the various elements aiming at the complete and optimal satisfaction of each social component.

It incorporates principles such as voluntary and open membership, democratic power exercised by members, economic participation of members, autonomy, education, training and information, cooperation between cooperatives, commitment to the community.

After extensive research on the Congolese economy, the Center for Research and Promotion of the Cooperative and Solidarity Economy (CERPECS) has designed the strategy for the promotion of cooperative societies, as the main lever for the professionalization of economic agents operating in the informal sector. and in the rural world.

In this perspective, macroeconomic reforms revolve around two axes: socio-economic restructuring and the promotion of entrepreneurship through the use of the cooperative system against the backdrop of a solidarity and democratic economy. The new cooperative paradigm will have the merit of reorganizing and professionalizing the populations currently living in the informal and rural sector.

Indeed, the reforms under the banner of the cooperative movement would invigorate the dynamics of the production of the informal and rural sectors, so as to encourage the village communities to operate quickly and profoundly their transformation towards economic modernity. Especially since the cooperatives will spread, among the populations, the reflexes and the spirit of solidarity allowing to retain the national capital and, what is better, to drain, under advantageous conditions, the foreign capital.

Relying on the power induced by the union of forces, the cooperative institutions will help to federate the popular masses, without any discrimination (neither racial, nor ethnic, nor political), with a view to exercising more initiative in improving their lives. They will become, de facto, the driving forces of economic growth and moral renewal. Also, men of good will will join together like ants who have neither leader, nor inspector, nor master to amass an abundant harvest. (According to the ethical code of the development of nations immutably based on the book of Leviticus, chapter 26: 1-46 and the first epistle of Paul to Timothy, chapter 3: 1-13)

With regard to the Development Program of 145 Territories, the Research Center for the Promotion of the Cooperative and Solidarity Economy, in acronym CERPECS ASBL, our scientific and technical institution, has carried out studies which have led to the design strategy based on the cooperative system, which promotes the participation of populations as new entrepreneurs and, therefore, agents of local development.

The new paradigm, designed by our research center, should combine the program of public investments in the territories with a vast campaign of professionalization of farmers and roadmenders through the grouping in cooperative societies, in order to increase the community content of the investments. public services, in particular the knock-on effects on the rural economy. (www.economie-developpement.com)

All in all, the project that our Center is proposing to the Government will stimulate the supervision and mobilization of rural entrepreneurs, with a view to evolving in partnership with the State, external financial partners as well as foreign investors in carrying out the development program of 145 territories (PDL 145).

Done in Kinshasa, June 6, 2022

Aaron LUTETE

Technical Director of CERPECS


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