Congo, Democratic Republic of the - Glossary Index
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
Glossary -- Zaire
- Name for the male attire favored by Mobutu and promoted as part of the authenticity (q.v.) campaign, consisting of a short-sleeved suit worn without a tie. The word abacost is derived from the French a bas le costume, or "down with the suit."
- An official state ideology of the Mobutu regime that emerged in the late 1960s and 1970s. Emphasizing the value of authentic Zairian culture, authenticity was a reaction against the lingering vestiges of colonialism and the continuing influence of Western culture. As implemented, the policy resulted in numerous changes in both public and private life; for example, the name of the country was changed to Zaire, and Zairian names were given to cities, regions, streets, bridges, boats, and other public facilities. Individuals were encouraged to drop Western, Christian names in favor of Zairian names; to adopt the abacost (q.v.) and its female equivalent in place of Western attire; and to address each other as "citizen" instead of using the standard French monsieur or madame. The policy began to wane in the late 1970s.
- A group whose members are descended in the male line from a putative common male ancestor (patriclan) or in the female line from a putative common female ancestor (matriclan). Clans may be divided into subclans organized on the same principle or into lineage (q.v.) groups believed to be linked by descent from a remote common ancestor.
- descent group
- A group having political, economic, or social functions. Formation of the group is based on actual or putative descent through persons of one sex from a common ancestor of the same sex, and therefore called a unilineal descent group (clan--q.v. or lineage--q.v.), or through persons of both sexes from a common ancestor of either sex (cognatic descent group).
- A French term (literally, "evolved," or "developed") used in the colonial era to refer to Congolese who had "evolved" through education or assimilation and accepted European values and patterns of behavior. Évolvés spoke French, usually held white- collar jobs, and were primarily urban.
- fiscal year (FY)
- In Zaire, the calendar year.
- gross domestic product (GDP)
- A measure of the total value of goods and services produced by a domestic national economy during a given period, usually one year. Obtained by adding the value contributed by each sector of the economy in the form of profits, compensation to employees, and depreciation (consumption of capital). Only domestic production is included, not income arising from investments and possessions owned abroad, hence the use of the word domestic to distinguish GDP from the gross national product (GNP)--q.v.). Real GDP is the value of GDP when inflation has been taken into account. In countries lacking sophisticated data-gathering techniques, such as Zaire, the total value of GDP is often estimated.
- gross national product (GNP)
- The total market value of all final goods and services produced by an economy during a year. Obtained by adding gross domestic product (GDP--q.v.) and the income received from abroad by residents and then subtracting payments remitted abroad to nonresidents. Real GNP is the value of GNP when inflation has been taken into account.
- In the colonial era, the process by which an évolué (q.v.) was given the same legal status as Europeans.
- import substitution
- An economic development strategy that emphasizes the growth of domestic industries, often by import protection using tariff and nontariff measures. Proponents favor the export of industrial goods over primary products.
- International Monetary Fund (IMF)
- Established along with the World Bank (q.v.) in 1945, the IMF is a specialized agency affiliated with the United Nations that is responsible for stabilizing international exchange rates and payments. The main business of the IMF is the provision of loans to its members (including industrialized and developing countries) when they experience balance of payments difficulties. These loans frequently carry conditions that require substantial internal economic adjustments by the recipients, most of which are developing countries.
- A group whose members are descended through males from a common male ancestor (patrilineage) or through females from a common female ancestor (matrilineage). Such descent can in principle be traced. Lineages vary in genealogical depth from the ancestor to living generations; the more extensive ones often are internally segmented.
- An official state and party ideology encompassing and glorifying the thoughts, visions, and policies of Mobutu. Includes such major Mobutu initiatives as Zairianization (q.v.) and authenticity (q.v.).
- A semi-autonomous, quasi-governmental, state-owned enterprise.
- Paris Club
- The informal name for a consortium of Western creditor countries (Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States) that have made loans or have guaranteed export credits to developing nations and that meet in Paris to discuss borrowers' ability to repay debts. Paris Club deliberations often result in the tendering of emergency loans to countries in economic difficulty or in the rescheduling of debts. Formed in October 1962, the organization has no formal or institutional existence. Its secretariat is run by the French treasury. It has a close relationship with the International Monetary Fund (q.v.), to which all of its members except Switzerland belong, as well as with the World Bank (q.v.) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The Paris Club is also known as the Group of Ten (G-10).
- patrimonialism (adj., patrimonial)
- A traditional political system in which government is personal, and government administration is an extension of the ruler. In such a system, the individual national leader controls the political and economic life of the country, and personal relationships with the leader play a crucial role in amassing personal wealth or in the rise and decline of members of the political elite.
- The official name given to the policy of reversing Zairianization (q.v.). Under the policy, announced on December 30, 1974, up to 40 percent of ownership of Zairianized properties could be returned to foreign owners. The proportion was increased to 60 percent in late 1975.
- special drawing rights (SDR)
- Monetary units of the International Monetary Fund (q.v.) based on a basket of international currencies including the United States dollar, the German deutsche mark, the Japanese yen, the British pound sterling, and the French franc.
- World Bank
- Informal name used to designate a group of four affiliated international institutions that provide advice and assistance on long-term finance and policy issues to developing countries: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). The IBRD, established in 1945, has as its primary purpose the provision of loans at market-related rates of interest to developing countries at more advanced stages of development. The IDA, a legally separate loan fund administered by the staff of the IBRD, was set up in 1960 to furnish credits to the poorest developing countries on much easier terms than those of conventional IBRD loans. The IFC, founded in 1956, supplements the activities of the IBRD through loans and assistance designed specifically to encourage the growth of productive private enterprises in the less developed countries. The president and certain senior officers of the IBRD hold the same positions in the IFC. The MIGA, which began operating in June 1988, insures private foreign investment in developing countries against such noncommercial risks as expropriation, civil strife, and nonconvertibility of currency. The four institutions are owned by the governments of the countries that subscribe their capital. To participate in the World Bank Group, member states must first belong to the International Monetary Fund (q.v.).
- zaire (Z)
- Zairian currency unit, introduced on June 24, 1967, replacing the Congolese franc. Consists of 100 makuta (sing., likuta), designated by the symbol k. From June 24, 1967, through March 11, 1976, Z1 equaled US$2. On March 12, 1976, the zaire was pegged to special drawing rights (q.v.), thereby establishing an effective value of Z1 equaled US$1.15. The rate between the zaire and the dollar was subject to market forces thereafter. In recent years, the zaire has been devalued numerous times (e.g., 1983, 1988, 1989, and 1991), and its value has plummeted. In terms of the dollar, the average annual exchange rate declined from Z50 in 1985 to Z719 in 1990, to Z15,587 in 1991, and Z645,549 in 1992. In early 1993, the exchange rate was estimated at Z8 million to the dollar, and in December 1993 Z110 million equaled US$1.
- Name given to the policy, announced in November 1973, requiring the transfer of foreign enterprises in strategic sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, commerce, and transport, to Zairians. The inefficient management of the enterprises thus transferred led to a partial retrocession (q.v.) of ownership to original holders beginning in 1975.gloss
NOTE: The information regarding Congo, Democratic Republic of the on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Congo, Democratic Republic of the Glossary information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Congo, Democratic Republic of the Glossary should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.