ZAIRE.  National Population Policy, 1990.  (Politique Nationale de Population, Kinshasa, Zaire, Comité Nationale de Population, 1990, 31 p.)





3.1  Purpose


            The purpose of the population policy is, in combination with other sectoral policies, to improve the quality and conditions of life for the population.  Prudent and efficient use of natural resources and equitable distribution of the national revenue are essential to accomplishing this goal.  To take into account and help manage demographic growth, the national population policy pursues the following objectives:


3.2  Global Objectives


            The aim is to attain the well-being of the population, especially through the control of demographic phenomena (mortality, fertility, migration), and thus to curb the ill effects of rapid population growth on development.  The quantifiable objective is for the rate of economic growth to exceed the rate of demographic increase, which will free up investments necessary to stimulate production.


            Demographic policy concerns only demographic phenomena, i.e., mortality, birth, and migration.  Population policy is broader in scope.  It encompasses demographic policy, formulates developmental problems, envisions appropriate solutions, and does not consist of limiting births.  Thus, it acts through incentives, not coercion.


3.3  Specific Objectives


            The specific objectives to be attained are:


-            promotion of the health of the population, particularly that of mothers and children.

-            implementation of the Desirable Births Program.

-            promotion of the status of women.

-            preparation and incorporation of youth into the process of development.

-            organization and promotion of the job market.

-            implementation of education, information, and communication programs relating to the population issue.

-           spatial redistribution of the population.

-           a clean and preserved environment.

-            improvement of data collection and research techniques relating to the population issue.





            The main focal points of the National Population Policy rest upon the problems identified above and the search for their optimal solution, carried out with respect for the rights and liberties of the citizen and for our cultural identity.


            The strategies are the ways and means in which the National Population Policy is conceived, defined, executed, and evaluated.


            The National Population Policy has four main focal points:


-            improvement of the social welfare through better integration of demographic factors into the process of  development and rehabilitation of moral values.

-            balanced distribution of the population and the reduction of regional disparities.

-            preservation of the environment.

-            information, education, and communication.




4.1.1.  Economic stimulus and related measures




            In the economic sphere, the goal and objectives are:


-           the rehabilitation of production tools and economic support infrastructures, as well as the development of larger projects and territorial management.

-            enlargement of the base of production through the development of certain key sectors: agriculture, the manufacturing industry, national self-sufficiency, economic integration and diversification.

-            development of small and medium-sized enterprises and of the artisan class.


Strategies and courses of action


            The realization of these objectives will require the following appropriate policies and strategies:


-           a better conceived and more realistic macroeconomic framework, a general strategy, and socio-economic policy, whose component parts are also more precisely defined, allowing irreversible mastery over all aspects of the management of the economy, particularly the financial, fiscal, and monetary aspects.


-           a program of infrastructure and territorial management, with the primary aim of coordinating networks of communication among the cities and between the cities and the country and connecting the centers of production to the centers of consumption, in order to stimulate the economy (supply and demand) irreversibly.


-            agricultural, mining, and industrial policies and strategies with the primary aim of economic self-sufficiency, integration, and diversification, as well as the strengthening of cooperatives and of the industrial fabric of the country through the promotion of small and medium-size enterprises.


-            regionalization of development, principally by means of economic and administrative decentralization and territorial management, with the major objective of promoting local initiative based on local resources and, thus, achieving participative regional development and national development which originates in the local communities.


-            strengthening and development of the education, health, and social habitat systems, while taking into account the availability of resources and considerations of regional as well as sectoral equilibrium; all activities undertaken should be directed toward the dissemination of knowledge and culture, the improvement of Education/ Training/Employment, and the advancement of  social welfare, both collective and individual.


-            promotion of technological and scientific research, to be considered a strategic sector of development.



4.1.2.  Mortality, illness, nutrition, and desirable births  Combating illness and mortality




            The goal of the fight against illness and mortality is to improve the health of the population.  The current death rate is estimated to be between 16 and 18 per thousand.  The goal of the health policy conceived in the framework of the National Population Policy is to lower the rate to between 12 and 14 per thousand in the year 2000 by combating the  principal causes of illness and death in all levels of the  population.


Courses of action


            To achieve this goal, the strategy for combating general mortality and illness will include the following courses of action:


-            acceleration of implementation of the national health policy, based on providing primary health care through regional health establishments.

-            intensification of the fight against the most serious diseases.

-            organization of structures capable of responding to natural disasters.

-            enacting and enforcing legislation relating to medical care at the workplace, public hygiene, and social security.

-            combating sexually transmitted diseases.

-            combating addictions to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.

-            strengthening all coordinating mechanisms in the realm of public health.  Improvement of nutrition




            The goal of the improvement of nutrition is to reduce significantly the frequency of chronic and acute under-nourishment and to increase the daily caloric intake of the neediest segments of the population.


Courses of action


            To achieve this goal, activities should be undertaken with respect to:


-            increasing and diversifying food production.

-            improving the circulation of commercial goods.

-            reducing the amount of crops lost after the harvest and popularizing modern methods of storage, preservation, and initial treatment of the produce.

-            nutritional education (guide to a balanced diet, as a function of local products and seasons).  Protection of mothers and infants




            The goal of the protection of mothers and infants is to improve the quality of life for the mother and child.  The maternal mortality rate is currently at 8 per thousand and the infant mortality rate at the order of 130 per thousand; the National Population Policy aims to bring these rates down to 6 and 80 per thousand, respectively, by the year 2000, by combating the principal causes of death and illness connected with childbirth and infancy.


Courses of action


            To achieve this goal, the strategy for protecting mothers and infants will include the following courses of action, to be carried out through the regional health establishments:


-            strengthening and improving the quality and accessibility of consultation services at the prenatal, perinatal, postnatal, and preschool stages.

-            intensification of training and incorporation into the health care framework of personnel responsible for the protection of mothers and infants, as well as traditional  midwives.

-            expansion of the vaccination program.

-            expansion, intensification, and popularization of the nutritional program.

-            encouragement of breast-feeding.

-            production and promotion of local products to assist with the weaning process.

-            integration of the Desirable Births activities into the framework of services protecting mothers and children.

-            organization and expansion of health education campaigns.

-            promotion and distribution of oral rehydration therapy.  Desirable Births




            The goal of the Desirable Births strategy is to reduce sickness and mortality among mothers and infants through birth spacing, prevention of high-risk pregnancies, and combating undesired infertility.


            Furthermore, the strategy allows couples to have, freely and in good conscience, the number of children that they can comfortably support.


            Currently estimated at 4%, the rate of contraceptive use is to be raised to 12% by the year 2000.


            The goal of the Program of Desirable Births is not to limit births, but to help resolve the various problems associated with the conditions of mothers and children; it constitutes a preferred instrument in the promotion and protection of mothers and children and the status of women.  The recommendations of the Alma-Ata Conference (USSR), to which Zaire subscribes, emphasize a strategy of primary health care, one of the components of which is family planning.


            The Desirable Births strategy will enable Zaire to:


-           reduce the proportion of women who give birth before the age of 20 and after the age of 35.

-           reduce the proportion of women who give birth within two years after a previous birth.

-           reduce the proportion of couples suffering from infertility.


            To help in its monitoring and evaluation, the program has established the following quantitative goals:


-           to reduce the proportion of children whose weight to age ratio is under the national standard from 30% to 25% by the year 1995; and from 25% to 10% by the year 2000.

-           to raise the percentage of children under 5 years old who have been vaccinated to 60% by the year 1995; and to 90% by the year 2000.

-           to ensure maternal protection services for at least 60% of all mothers by the year 1995; and to at least 90% by the year 2000.


Courses of action


            To achieve these goals, the following measures will be adopted, in addition to the steps already taken by each Ministry:


-           raising the age of sexual maturity and the minimal marriage age for girls to 18.

-            strengthening and expanding all activities related to the protection of mothers and children.

-            intensification of education, information, and communication activities on the subject of Desirable Births.

-            intensification of family life education in both scholastic and extra-curricular environments.

-            strengthening activities to raise public awareness on the issue of responsible parenting.

-           training and retraining of the personnel involved in the Desirable Births program.

-           creation and integration of Desirable Births activities into regional health establishments.

-            organization of consultation services and treatment for sterility and sexually transmitted diseases.

-            promoting the involvement of public and private enterprises, national and international organizations, as well as private persons, in the Desirable Births program.


4.1.3.  Combating pauperization, unemployment, and underemployment




            Efforts to restructure the economy of Zaire must have as their goal a rate of economic growth greater than the rate of demographic increase.


            These efforts must also promote:


-  the continual improvement of the population's buying power.

-  reduction of unemployment and underemployment.

-  increased revenue for rural producers.

-  support for the informal sector through incentives.


Courses of action


            To achieve this goal, a number of measures are contemplated:


-           decisive orientation of the second development plan and the Program of Structural Adjustment (PAS) toward the priority objectives of economic stimulus, especially for the productive sectors, and promotion of projects of high labor intensity.

-            diminishing the social costs of the PAS, particularly by adopting secondary measures to accompany the direct effects of restructuring (social security for laid off and retired workers).

-            redefinition and application of collective agreements, especially on the matter of salaries, which must be readjusted, taking into account the change in the cost of living.

-            exploitation of the human resource potential in agriculture; realization of all the necessary conditions for bringing young people into agricultural activities.

-            planning with respect to the country's human resources and their direction to the actual needs of national development.

-            adapting the training of managers to accord with the actual needs of the country.

-            necessary training of managers to enable them to create new jobs themselves.

-           active support for small and medium-size enterprises and industries through development of organizations offering access to credit and through training sessions in management techniques.

-            promotion and distribution of technologies appropriate for rural areas.

-           gradual promotion of Zairean nationals to positions and professions still occupied by foreigners and adoption of measures to discourage brain-drain.

-            strengthening the training of intermediate-level managers.



4.1.4.  Promotion of the status of women




            Efforts to promote the status of women have as their goal ensuring the integration and participation of women into the process of national development.


            The promotion of the status of women will:


-           help women become better aware of their problems and potentialities.

-           actively involve women in formulating, implementing, and evaluating development projects.

-           lighten the workload of women.

-            guarantee the dignity of women.


Courses of action


To attain this goal, the following activities should be undertaken:


-           raising the rate of schooling and literacy in the female population.

-           raising the rate at which girls remain in school and reincorporating young mothers into school programs.

-            technical and vocational support and training for girls.

-           making women aware of their rights and duties.

-            improvement and diffusion of information about achievements that attest to the real contribution of women to development.

-            educating women about birth control.

-            revaluing domestic work and interesting men in household tasks, in order to lighten the work load of women.

-            introduction and popularization of appropriate technologies to facilitate the performance of daily chores.

-            organization of nurseries and daycare centers.

-            elimination of all forms of discrimination based on sex.

-           creation and strengthening of centers to promote women (women's houses and social meeting-places).

-            promotion and formation of socio-professional women's associations, particularly through giving access to credit .



4.1.5.  Revival of social action (the young, the elderly, the handicapped, and the needy).




            The goal of social action is:


 -          to prepare and train youth, in order to ensure them a more creative and productive life, and permit them to fulfill their future responsibilities as citizens.

-           to protect young children and the family, as well as the elderly.

-           to reinstitute moral values as the foundations of society.

-           to come to the aid of the less fortunate social classes (the handicapped and the needy).


Courses of action


            To attain these objectives, the following activities should be undertaken:


-            prevention of offenses that violate morals, such as drug use, prostitution, vagrancy, and attacks against accepted standards of behavior.

-            rehabilitation and development of educational and vocational institutions and promotion of the health and socio-cultural infrastructure necessary for the healthy development of young people.

-            integration of learning programs in preparation for adult life into the framework of the education system, both formal and informal.

-            intensification of efforts fully to occupy the time of inactive youth.

-            installation of a rehabilitation system for delinquent youth by the creation of reeducation centers in every region, which will provide instruction in several different professions.

-           taking a census of handicapped persons and supporting charitable efforts to help them.

-            consolidation of reeducation centers throughout the country with the aim of reintegrating the handicapped into an active life.

-           creation of a permanent retraining center for educators from centers for professional training and social promotion.

-           creation of uniform instruction for these centers.

-           creation and rehabilitation of orphanages.

-            readjustment of family allowances.

-            increasing and rehabilitating infrastructure to care for abandoned elderly people.

-            encouragement of mutual benefit societies and organization of social security funds.







Efforts at a spatial redistribution of the population have the goal of contributing to the  balanced development of the country. 


These efforts include:


-            promotion of rural and urban development based on the needs expressed by the population.

-            revaluing the work of farmers.

-            ensuring efficient economic interdependence between rural entities and urban centers.

-           slowing down the rural exodus.


Courses of action


            To achieve this goal, efforts at spatial redistribution of the population find expression in the following activities:


-            promotion and organization of rural cooperatives and other mechanisms to promote access to loans and profitable prices for producers.

-            promotion of public and private investment and establishment of secondary sector activities in rural areas (e.g., processing facilities).

-           creation of a hierarchy of development centers and establishment of units of production in rural areas.

-            establishment of infrastructure to promote the flow and exchange of goods between the city and the country and among rural areas.

-            establishment of master plans for territorial management.

-            improvement and development of highways and other infrastructure to slow down the rural exodus.


            The activities proposed above will help combat the rural exodus.  Other activities can be undertaken to promote rural society.


            Most notably, these efforts include:


-            establishment and strengthening the National Committee for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development.

-            strengthening the National Center for Integrated Rural Development.

-            formulation of a master plan for rural development.

-           drafting a Rural Code.

-            promotion of mechanisms to create interest at the local community level, through the establishment of development committees.

-           creation of a national fund for rural development to finance activities at the local level of society.







            The purpose of cleaning up the surroundings and preserving the environment is:


-           to promote the cleaning up of areas in which people live.

-           to put a stop to the degradation of the environment.

-           to maintain a balance between the population and natural resources.

-           to integrate the environment into development.

-           to conserve nature and manage natural resources.


            The ultimate goal is:


-           to allow the population to live in a healthy environment.

-           to protect the balance of ecosystems.

-           to maintain a balance between the conservation of natural resources and their use.


Courses of action


            To achieve these goals, the strategy for cleaning up the surroundings and preserving the environment includes the following activities:


-            educating the population on how to maintain a healthy environment and making them aware of the problems of conserving natural resources and managing them rationally.

-            protecting the population from industrial wastes and other types of pollution.

-            establishing mechanisms of disposal, collection, and treatment of solid, liquid, and gaseous wastes.

-            strengthening the system of continued surveillance of the environment.

-            popularizing and strengthening the policy of creating latrines in both rural and urban areas.

-            rehabilitating and strengthening the water drainage systems.

-            educating the population to use the country's forests rationally, to plant more trees, and to diversify the sources of domestic energy.

-            strengthening activities already undertaken by the national reforestation program, adding to them activities undertaken for the permanent education and technical training of the population.

-            rigorously regulating the exploitation of the fauna and flora, in rural as well as urban surroundings.

-           passing a law against the pollution of living spaces.

-           revising the land law with respect to penalties against disorderly partitioning of land and construction and defining the responsibilities of each agency with respect to urbanization.

-            enforcing legislative measures against domestic animals roaming unattended.





4.4.1.  Information, education, and communication related to the population issue




            The objective of the strategy to provide information, education, and communication on the population issue (IEC) is to contribute to the promotion of the well-being of the community by improving the people's knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour in this area.


            IEC's goal is to reach 30% of the rural and 60% of the urban population by the year 2000.


            The purpose, thus, of the program of information, education, and communication is:


-           to intensify and improve the literacy program and the programs of civic and moral education for the masses.

-           to provide every Zairean citizen with information on responsible parenting.

-           to improve the knowledge of demographic planners and researchers on population questions as perceived in local communities.


Courses of action


            To achieve this goal, the following activities are to be undertaken:


            * With respect to literacy and civic and moral education


-           creation and rehabilitation of infrastructure for training, particularly in the rural areas.

-            encouragement of public and private local initiatives, as well as the participation of the community in literacy programs.

-            establishment of an ad hoc staff with responsibility for the formulation, execution, monitoring, and evaluation of these programs.

-            mobilization and allocation of the resources necessary for the execution of these programs, with the participation of the community.


* With respect to information and education relating to responsible parenting


-            collection, development, and dissemination of appropriate documentation on the advantages of birth spacing (books, brochures, inserts, posters, . . . ).

-            exploitation of the mass media, cultural associations, and centers promoting women to inform and educate women and men on the advantages of desirable births, hygiene, health, education on nutrition, and education for life.

-            development of special information, education, and communication programs on the population issue.

-            development of population related programs and appropriate instructional materials designed for young people from all backgrounds and integration of the above programs into the formal and informal educational systems.

-           training and retraining teachers at all levels in population issues.

-            sensitizing parents to the importance of programs of education for life designed for children.

-            adaptation of educational programs at all levels to the needs of national development.

-            increasing and strengthening the production of educational materials and programs (films, songs, sketches, etc.).

-            strengthening of the means of censoring certain information and education programs on population issues (films, songs, publicity . . . ) produced by the mass media for the population that are contrary to the moral and cultural values accepted by society.

-            dissemination and popularization of the results of research on population issues.


* With respect to training on population issues


-            promoting the organization of regular training and retraining sessions for the benefit of planners, researchers, and those responsible for programs and projects on population questions in primary, secondary, higher, and university education programs.



4.4.2.  Collection of data and research on population issues




            The goal of collecting data and conducting research on population issues is to afford managers and planners access to all information necessary for planning the development of the country.  These activities also facilitate an improved understanding of population phenomena in order to integrate them into the planning process of national development.


Courses of action


            To attain this goal, the following activities are to be undertaken:


-            organization of awareness campaigns regarding the duty of reporting all vital statistics within the time provided for and revitalizing the institutions responsible for their regular collection, preparation, and dissemination.

-            implementation of periodic population censuses (at least once every ten years) and application of the results within a reasonable period of time.

-            identification of the need for economic and socio-demographic surveys and execution of such surveys.

-            intensification of research on the interdependence of demographic variables and socio-economic factors and of demographic variables, development and the environment.

-            intensification of efforts to compile, process, and analyze health, educational, agricultural, employment, and work force statistics for use in economic and social development plans at the national and regional levels.

-            promotion of research to improve methods of basic data collection in the area of population.

-            conducting specific studies on the integration of youth and women into the process of development.

-            intensification of studies aiming at an improved knowledge of the characteristics and potential of employment in the non-structured sector.

-            integration of demographic variables into both national and regional development plans.





            The execution of the national population policy is a complex and multisectoral activity.  It involves the establishment of an appropriate institutional framework, in which public and non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and local communities actively participate.  


            Ordinance #86-219 of July 25, 1986, creating the CONAPO, establishes the following institutional framework for the formulation, implementation, and evaluation of programs dealing with population issues, and for the integration of population-related data into development planning on both the regional and the national levels.


5.1  The National Population Committee (CONAPO)


            The National Population Committee is a consultative government body.  Its role is to formulate and propose the implementation of population policies and to evaluate population programs and projects that are undertaken.  It is responsible for carrying out all studies and surveys concerning:


-           the demographic situation in relation to nutritional, health, educational, and employment problems.

-           the impact of demographic growth on satisfying the essential needs of its population.

-           the effect of demographic change on the realization of social and economic development.

-            integration of demographic variables into developmental planning.

-            promotion of women and their integration into the process of development.

-            promotion of the protection of mothers and infants and promotion of Desirable Birth programs and their harmonious integration into the strategy of primary health care.

-            planning human resources to achieve a better correspondence between training and employment.

-            establishment of training programs to improve the understanding of population issues.

-            development and coordination of research on population issues.

-            conducting studies on the interdependence of demographic variables, socio-economic factors, development, and the environment.

-            determining the country's need for assistance on population issues and coordinating this assistance.

-           efforts to integrate and promote the handicapped.


            The National Population Committee is presided over by the Secretary General of Planning, assisted by two Vice-presidents--the Secretaries General responsible for Public Health and for Territorial Administration and Decentralization.  Its members are high-level representatives of the ministries and public and private organizations directly concerned with population problems.


            The National Population Committee meets at least once a year on its president's summons.  Nonetheless, it may meet in an extraordinary session on the president's summons or upon the request of two thirds of its members.


            The National Population Committee will establish its own internal regulations.  This organic structure, established at the national level, will function at the level of many decentralized entities, in such a way as to facilitate the participation of local communities in population programs.



5.2  The Unit of Research and Coordination of Population Activities (CECAP)


            The National Population Committee has at its disposal a technical coordinating body called "The Unit of Research and Coordination of Population Activities".  CECAP is an administrative structure of the Ministry of Planning.  It is responsible for the coordination of activities initiated by public and private institutions within the framework of the population policy.


            The Unit of Research and Coordination of Population Activities is headed by a Coordinator, under the supervision of the president of the National Population Committee.  The Unit provides a permanent Secretariat for the National Population Committee.


            It is responsible for preparing the technical and administrative files on population issues.


            In order for the Unit to function properly, it is provided with a technical staff composed of national population experts of high rank.


5.3  The Interinstitutional Technical Committee on Population Issues (CTIP)


            The creation of the Interinstitutional Technical Committee on Population is necessary to strengthen the mechanisms and procedures to coordinate, monitor and evaluate the national population policy.


            This Committee is essentially a technical body that works in close collaboration with CECAP in order to assist the latter in its task of planning and budgeting all activities relating to the promotion of the welfare of the population.


            The CTIP is composed of the directors or representatives of the various population programs and projects in both the public and private sectors.


5.4  Regional Population Committees (CRPo)


            In implementing Article 12 of the Ordinance creating the National Population Committee, Population Committees, presided over by the Governors, have been established in all of the country's Regions.  The task of these Committees is to sensitize their respective populations to the relevance of the national population policy and the necessity of mass participation in its execution and monitoring.





            It is imperative to establish mechanisms and procedures for the monitoring and evaluation of population policy.  This involves:


-            implementation of effective methods and mechanisms for monitoring population policies, programs, and projects in a regular fashion.

-            periodic evaluation of the sectoral programs so as to determine the extent to which the policy's initial objectives have been realized.

-            utilization of the competent national organizations in conducting economic and socio-demographic studies to determine the impact of the various programs on the population and, if necessary, to redirect the programs in progress.

-            promotion of the participation of local communities in the evaluation of population programs.

-            mobilization of the necessary human, material, and financial resources for the monitoring and evaluation of this policy.





            The population is the nation's single most precious asset.  It is both the creator and the beneficiary of national development.


            In order for these statements not to be purely rhetorical, several conditions must be met:


-            establishment and/or expansion of participative structures involving the entire national community to achieve success in the above-mentioned activities.  Indeed, the fundamental role that the population plays in ensuring its own development has many times been demonstrated.

-            effective decentralization of the entire process of development and effective distribution of responsibility to local units.

-           access to information and conditions permitting investment for the greatest number of inhabitants must be offered.  It is widely acknowledged that, to guarantee sustained long-term development, the population must be involved in a conscientious and well-considered manner.  These two qualities can be generated only after a choice has been made. This choice is a function of the information available in all sectors of natural life.





            Population questions are of paramount importance and are tied to the problems of development.  Since development is achieved by the people, the economy must be at their service.  Because the national population policy affects all aspects of social and economic development, its success and the improvement of the quality of life of the Zairean people require the will, support, and participation of all local communities, all officials and persons in decision-making positions, international associations, non-governmental organizations, religious groups, etc.  Thus, it is imperative that they offer their support, assistance, and technical resources to this policy.  The following high officials should be involved: members of Parliament, public and private administrative heads, university professors and researchers, religious leaders, and all leaders of the population.