DR Congo needs China contracts and debt relief: IMF
The Democratic Republic of Congo needs debt relief and deals with China to help ease the war-torn country out of poverty, the director general of the International Monetary Fund said Monday.
Speaking to reporters at the end of a two-day visit to Kinshasa, Dominique Strauss-Kahn mentioned a contract signed between the two countries involving a Chinese loan of nine billion dollars.
Six billion was destined for developing the infrastructure and three for the mining sector, but part of the loan was to be paid back in mining shares, said Strauss-Kahn.
"The difficulty is that certain elements of the contract, in particular the guarantee guarantee on the mining part," constituted for the IMF an increase in the country's 11-billion-dollar debt burden, said Strauss-Kahn.
It was absurd for the country to have to choose between lightening its burden or taking the Chinese contract, he added.
"What we need is both the contract and the debt relief, the DRC needs both," said Strauss-Kahn.
The IMF chief recommended finding a format that would give the Chinese the guarantees they needed without worsening Kinshasa's debt burden.
The deal, first revealed in 2007, involves the renovation or building of more than 6,000 kilometres (3,700 miles) of roads, more than 3,000 kilometres of railway, two dams, hospitals, accommodation and schools across the country.
In a press release issued after the meeting Strauss-Kahn added: "I welcomed President Kabila's agenda for tackling critical social and infrastructural needs, and which warrant increased public spending.
"Of course, such spending should take place within a clear debt sustainability framework."
But before the IMF could consider a new "poverty relief and growth facility" programme there had to be a positive resolution of the problem with the Sino-Congolese agreement, he said.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.