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THE “GOMA” FORMULA: AFROFORESIGHT OR WESTERN DEMOCRACY?

It is a chilly morning at Goma International Airport. The high-speed jetliner landed just in time for the UN Conference. Within 10 minutes, I clear the fully automated passport control desk and by 6:30 a.m., check in at the Amis du Goma hotel where the UN conference is being held.

From my 75th-floor hotel room, I can see the sprawling city of Goma. The view of this populous city, home to about 10 million people, is breathtaking. It is rainy season here in DRC and the dense forest surrounding the city is quite a scene to behold. Using the CitiView binoculars, I capture a clear view of the Goma urban forest, to the southern side of the city. The sky is overcast this morning of May 1, 2058, yet no hint of pollution from both smell and sight. With a deep sense of gratitude for what I see, I whisper to myself, “This is true dignity for Africa.” THE GOMA CULTURE At the dining entrance, an elegantly dressed hotel employee welcomes me with “Bonjour et Bienvenu Madame,” meaning “good morning and welcome madam.” I respond with “Bonjour.” The courteous and swift hotel staff are dressed in brown and white African prints. I head to the coffee station, where I am greeted by a strong and sweet aroma of Goma coffee. With five different flavors of coffee at the station, and a variety of local and exotic foods to choose from, I settle for cereals, roast cassava, a piece of sizzling beef sausage, and vanilla-flavored coffee. The expensively furnished oval designed UN conference theatre makes the occasion feel classy. Each of the 2000 seating stations are fitted with superior communication gadgets. We have a total of 7,200 delegates, 6,000 of which are online. A total of 197 nations are represented. At exactly 8:30 am Mr. Monaco, the Africa UN Director, takes to his microtane, and says, “Welcome delegates, we’re glad to have you at the 57th Goma UN conference.” Monaco then ushers in Avote band for curtain raising. The sweet Lingala song and well synchronized moves create a sense of warmth. While still lost in this African choreography, Monaco ushers in Dr. Cynthia Lometo, the DRC’s minister for Goma 2050 Tripartite and Conflict Resolution Program (2050TCRP) program. From her online profile, Lometo is one of DRC’s respected peace negotiators and 2050TCRP strategists, locally known as the “Congo Seven.” The elegantly dressed and softspoken government official begins by conveying president Lucia Bisimwa’s greetings. “Her Excellency Bisimwa is the first ever female president in the history of DRC, and the current M30 team leader (formerly M23 rebels),” explains Lometo. She then proceedes to share impressive statistics about the new DRC.

TRANSCENDED CONGO

DRC’s 2058 GDP stands at $11,500 billion per annum, thus becoming the fourth largest economy in Africa. This rising African giant is now the third largest exporter of gold and diamond globally. “I’m proud to inform you that the GomaKivu Forest and its neighboring Virunga National Park are now the top tourist destinations in Africa,” says Lometo. DRC’s road network and energy infrastructure are at 65% against 2050TRCP development target while the Congo River mega dam meets 65% of the country’s electricity needs. Then, with a sense of pride, elder Lometo quips, “These gains saw president Cynthia Bisimwa receive the Novella Peace Prize in November 2057.” That afternoon of my first day in Goma, delegates continue to engage with Dr. Lometo on the genesis of the 2050TCRP, its constructs, success factors, and lessons learned to-date. The morning of the next day in DRC, I visited Virunga National Park. “This is home to the endangered mountain Gorillas,” explains Warden Lucie. The park is secured all around with electric fencing, and strategically fitted with Italian CentiroMepino Cameras (CMC) for enhanced surveillance of wildlife. The road network within the park is superb while animal water points are vast. Some of the common animals in this park include the forest elephant, African black buffalos, chimpanzees, forest duikers, hippopotamuses, and numerous equatorial forest bird species. Despite this endearing resource, Warden Rumita admits to the challenge of skilled poachers who use sophisticated weapons and technology to track and kill both elephants and mountain gorillas. Late in the day, I visit the Goma-Kivu Governance and Engagement Centre (GEC). The 1,350-capacity center is equipped with modern technology and appropriate communication and training equipment. “This is where diverse community groups meet to engage on a regional development agenda,” explains Ms. Hamisi, the center’s superintendent. In my conversation with Hamisi, I gather that the GECs are duplicated in the other three governance regions – the Northwest, Central, and Northeastern regions. The primary purpose of these GECs is to ensure full implementation of the 2050TCRP agenda. The center provides students an opportunity to indulge in leadership, foresight, good governance, gender parity, and sustainability issues. The goal is to nurture responsible citizens. I impressed by the government intentionality to mentor the youth in the right direction.

Day three, morning: I fly to the Itura gold mining plant. From the air, I behold the scenic aerial view of the meandering Congo River. The excellent road from Itura airport to the mine is manned by heavily armed Congolese police officers. Once at Itura, I keenly notice the millions of dollars’ worth of modern, German-made mining equipment in use. The mining teams employ top-notch technology. Their April 2058 e-mining report shows 65% of managers and 90% of the mining staff are Congolese. “There is no child below 18 working in the mines,” prides the mine’s manager. Under the 2050TCRP framework, 75% of the mining proceeds go to the regional governments, while 25% to the national government. The field trip concludes with a sense of fulfilment. THE SUPER 2050TCRP Although the sweet Congolese music and skilled dancers made my evenings at Amis du Goma hotel memorable, I grappled with a number of questions regarding the 2050TCRP framework as a toured various locations in DRC, engaged different people, and noted the great progress the country had made under the so called “Goma Fomula.” What was the genesis of this seemingly bespoke framework that had transformed the once dilapidated DRC to a coveted African state? Who were its technocrats? What made it different from past peace building initiatives and conflict resolution efforts? Had western democracy failed in DRC Congo? This is what I found out about the 2050TCRP. STRATEGIZED AFRO FORESIGHT The 2050TCRP or “Goma” formula is a homegrown outfit. Its technocrats, called the “Congo seven” (five female and two male Congolese professionals) took 10 years to craft and roll out the framework. From their research, the team realized that reactionary leadership in the past had become a lethal strategic error in DRC, hence it needed to be avoided at all cost. Additionally, the “Congo Seven” employed key competencies and capabilities while crafting the 2050 TCRP framework. They included foresight, research, cultural agility, gender parity, intelligence, technology, community participation, leadership, and youth empowerment. INTEGRATING CULTURE STYLES The “Congo Seven” appreciated that, like most African cultures, the Congolese cultures were High Power Distance (HPD) cultures. Under HPD culture, subjects accord lots of power to the leaders even under oppressive circumstances. On the contrary, the western Low Power Distance (LPD) cultures encourage lots of dialogues and participation by all. It is the latter which had informed most of the past peace-building initiatives in DRC thus culture conflict. Under the “Goma” formula, the “Congo Seven” went for a blend between HPD and LPD cultures, thus better governance. INCREASE REGIONAL AUTONOMY IN RESOURCE CONTROL The 2050TCRP framework gave regional governments up to 75% control of all regional resources except gold, diamond and copper. The framework’s development agenda and strong accountability mechanism, coupled with strong support for education, good governance, research and the use of AI in service delivery, gender parity, and youth empowerment guaranteed increased regional development and peace.

IS 2050TCRP JUST A GOOD DREAM? On May 4, 2023, I’m back in Nairobi and I discover the Goma formula 2058 scenario is just that -- a sweet dream. The political instability, ongoing conflict, violence, exploitation of natural resources, deep corruption, poor governance, gender violence, and high poverty make presentday DRC uninhabitable. Both local militias and foreign-based rebels have made Eastern DRC ungovernable. The outcome is displacement and violence, especially against women and children. Poverty is high with about 77% of the population living on less than $1.90 a day. [1] More than 7 million children have no access to education while over 65% of the population has no access to adequate health services. Sadly, this is happening in a country that is well endowed with exceptional natural resources. Is there any real hope that 2058 could one day be a reality? ____________________________________________ [1] UNICEF (August. 2020). Children in DRC at ‘extremely high risk’ of the impacts of the climate crisis. https://www.unicef.org/drcongo/en/pressreleases/children-drc-extremely-high-risk-impactsclimate-crisis


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Dr. Annah (Anne) Kyoya


Dr. Annah (Anne) Kyoya is an author, futurist, leadership development professional, and consultant. Anne holds a doctoral degree in strategic leadership; double masters in sociology/disaster management and development; and a bachelor’s in agriculture and home economics. Kyoya has over 25 yearexperience in humanitarian development, organizational leadership, foresight, and leadership development work in over 12 African countries. Kyoya has authored and published various articles in leadership, socio-economic, and urban culture. Anne’s book: Tackling Corruption in Africa: Anticorruption solutions beyond 2030 has become a critical resource in several symposia on corruption in Africa

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