A Bid to bring the Congo into the 21st Century

By Shelby Cate

Emmanuel Weyi, Presidential candidate for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Bruce Dines, VP of Global Liberty joined BBC host Ed Butler on Thursday afternoon to discuss the future of the Congo, one of the most troubled countries on earth.

Born in the DRC to a banker and a businesswoman, Weyi was sent to Europe at the age of fifteen to be educated. In 1985, he started a sustainable energy and mining company in Colorado and Congo.

“When I came to the US I had only $135 in my pocket,” Weyi said. “I was young and motivated.”

Weyi was the president and CEO of his company for nineteen years and recently left to become a politician. Weyi’s vision for his country begins with stability and leads towards a highly educated and technologically connected future.

“The first thing is security,” Weyi said.

The DRC needs a well staffed, well trained, and well compensated army to protect its natural wealth, like a bank that has a security guard to protect its assets. After securing and stabilizing the country, Weyi plans to begin crafting the digital economy with broadband, using fiber optic, satellites and other available technologies to improve telecommunications.

He said that one advantage in the DRC is that they don’t have to go the UN, IMF or other foreign funding sources to fund these types of technology ventures.

Dines, who Weyi has asked to lead a digital strategy initiative for the DRC, is optimistic about the future of the country and “the opportunity to leapfrog technologies” from the sparsely available 3G all the way to 5G. Dines believes that technology companies such as Microsoft and Oracle, will have any easy case to enter the market once the government is stabilized.

“The corruption piece has to be dealt with, and that’s no easy task,” said Dines, “But when you have a man that has the conviction that Emmanual does, that will be addressed.”

Weyi said “Congo is an old kingdom, but a young country,” and is experiencing the growing pains of a young democracy. In looking towards the future, he said, “Everything starts with leadership.”

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