Other than through the exploitation of it’s abundant nature resources, Congo has been deficient in it’s ability to create wealth for it’s people.  In Congo, most of Africa actually, the availability of capital to generate internal wealth has been lacking.  The lack of both physical security and a reliable rule of law has caused much of the limited available capital to flee elsewhere.  A health crisis certainly doesn’t help!  Without these basic requirements of peace and law, no form of economic structure can possibly succeed.

Our entire Western economic system is based on capital being put to use in order to secure returns for the investors.  These returns eventually accumulate and aided by intelligent taxation policies these accumulated returns benefit the greater society and not just the investor with capital.  The West has generally succeeded, post World War II, because of our capitalist system which is reliant on physical security and strong rule of law.

Bens in Congo has always been a strong believer that the Congolese need to be able to create their own wealth and not rely on the generosity of foreign donations.  We have responded to immediate needs, but our preference is to provide funds for things that can produce wealth when we are no longer around.  Funds for sewing machines and chickens are good examples.  But a stable peace is needed, first and foremost for economic progress.  Responsible government must be in place that people can trust.  Business contracts with a fair justice system must be relied on.

But meanwhile, people are enduring a tragic man-made situation in eastern Congo.  To do our part, and with the help of James Kataliko in Butembo, we established and seed-funded a microfinance fund in order to supply some capital otherwise not readily available to small entrepreneurs.  Our first three loans were all successfully repaid and the respective small businesses were advanced.  Our latest loan was in support of a taxi service between Butembo and Goma, a route that quite recently was totally unsafe to drive.  The loan supplemented available funds and enabled an upgrade to a newer and larger minivan.  This small business is not without risks and perils, but it is the spirit of the small entrepreneur that will enable improved conditions for all in eastern Congo.

Minivan 1Minivan 2