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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.,
- 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