In Congo, «banking» has been going on a year and a half. This means in other words that national employees: civil servants, teachers, military, police, etc.. have registered across the country to get a bank account. With banking services, it is the end of the cash delivered from hand to hand.
Today, Congolese officials have the obligation to receive their salary in a bank account. Unfortunately, with this system, many of them discover that they have not received their full salary in the past. Today, there are nearly one million employees – teachers, hospital staff, military, police – that must be «banked». A huge challenge proportional to the size of the country. It is an initiative of the Congolese Government to fight corruption. In the meantime, many fictitious employees were discovered. This is an everyday fact for the banks to find that amongst the 2000 staff registered on the list, only 400 are actually coming to the registration. In the city of Feshi, director Roland discovers that twenty-one unknown names have been added to the list of 12 school teachers through an intermediary … If registration and payment of civil servants is a baffling problem in the biggest cities, then it is easy to imagine the complexity and difficulty in the most remote areas devoid of banks. A number of banks have outsourced the payment with mobile operators in areas where they do not have an agency.
However wages paid by mobile phone in Congo has not proved not to be a success as in many other African countries. Each month, the ‘Trust Merchant Bank’ spreads its employees to different corners of the country. Bad roads where they get stuck every kilometer. Motorcycle trips to accomplish the mission that was entrusted to them. On rafts or crossing rickety bridges, officers of banking defy rivers to achieve the payment of salaries. These solutions are limited ; there are sometimes teachers who must travel to receive their wages. Two days of a difficult journey to reach the place where the wages are being paid.
Texte & photos Kris PanneCoucke