On May 21, a team of local PEP researchers organized a policy conference in Goma, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to share and discuss their findings on the relationship between the internal mobility of young people in the DRC and their involvement in entrepreneurship. The event attracted key participants from the national and local governments and national and international organizations, as well as a strong academic and media presence. The event was organized in collaboration with the Université Libre des Pays des Grands-Lacs, the Université Catholique de Bukavu, and the Université de Kinshasa.
In this study – selected for support under the PAGE initiative in 2013 – the researchers conducted a rigorous analysis of data regarding youth aged 15 to 35 from the National 1-2-3 Survey conducted by the National Institute of Statistics of the Congo in 2005. The team used this data in order to investigate the factors that motivate internal migration, to discover the most popular geographical destinations, and to evaluate the impact of internal migration on the choice of youth to enter the workforce as entrepreneurs. The team’s analysis shows that the main factors influencing the choice to migrate are the economic and social disparities between provinces, gender, marital status, and place of origin. Furthermore, the results indicate that individuals who have migrated are 35% more likely to enter the informal sector as an entrepreneur. Based on these findings, the researchers recommend reinforcing institutional support, information, and finance structures to encourage entrepreneurship as a way out of poverty. They further suggest putting in place policies that facilitate growing businesses so that entrepreneurs can also create jobs, particularly in the less prosperous provinces. Find out more about the research methods, findings, and subsequent policy recommendations in the following PEP publications: Working Paper 2015-07 (full paper) and Policy Brief 126.
The team’s main objectives of the conference were to convey the findings and subsequent recommendations to key stakeholders and policy actors, and to provide an opportunity for the stakeholders to discuss policies aiming to improve entrepreneurship and reduce unemployment, particularly amongst youth. Attending government representatives included officers from the Employment and Work Department, the Provincial Department for Youth, the Provincial Planning Department, the Provincial Department for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, and an advisor to the Office of the Prime Minister. Academics from several universities and a number of journalists also attended.
Among the participants were key government advisors and officials who had not previously been aware of the team’s findings; the conference therefore allowed the team to reach an important audience that has particular influence over youth employment and entrepreneurship policies. Officials at both the local and national levels agreed on the need for local development strategies and large-scale data collection. Floribert Djemba Hyango, Director of the National Employment Office, took the opportunity to encourage Congolese researchers to further investigate youth employment. Furthermore, the team was able to demonstrate their expertise developed during the study as they presented high quality research. Following the conference the presenters, PEP-researcher Dr Christian Kamala Kaghoma and Mumbere Lubula from the Université Catholique de Bukavu, met with Gregoire Mwepu, adviser to the Prime Minister and the coordinator of CAID (Cellule d’Analyse des Indicateurs du Développement Intégré au Développement). Mr. Mwepu expressed his excitement regarding the project and invited future collaborations.
The conference also benefitted from substantial national media coverage with four radio stations, a television channel and a newspaper reporting from the event. Three radio stations, Pole FM, Radio KivuOne and Radio Okapi (the UN radio station with the most coverage in the country), broadcast reports of the conference over the two days following the event and featured the conference as a “big story” with in-depth coverage. KivuOne also broadcast a television report. As well as the researchers, a representative of PROYEN (a program initiated by the DRC government to promote pro-youth employment opportunities) also gave a long interview supporting the work presented during the conference.