Zaire Table of Contents
Political scientists frequently characterize Zaire and other African states as "corporatist," manifesting a system in which interest groups are officially sanctioned and noncompetitive. Although corporatism has not been a dominant theme in official Zairian discourse, it is present, notably in the oft-repeated phrase, "toutes les forces vives" (all the vital forces). When a new policy is to be launched, "toutes les forces vives" of the nation or of the region, as appropriate, are called together-- representatives of the employers, employees, churches, and other pertinent groups.
In 1991, as Zaire initiated a national conference on the model of those held in Benin, Congo, and other French-speaking African states, a new expression arose to refer to interest groups: civil society (la société civile), a sociological expression that originated in the writings of nineteenth-century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel.
Data as of December 1993