Do the Congo: the DRC is at last trying to clean up its economic ...

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Do the Congo: the DRC is at last trying to clean up its economic act

Finance minister reviews mining contracts and hunts for new revenue sources to pay for social upliftment plans

Michael J Kavanagh

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is intent on revisiting mining contracts, rescinding and reselling unused oil permits and boosting taxes on beer to fund its development plans, according to Nicolas Kazadi, the country’s finance minister.  

A country the size of Western Europe with 80-million inhabitants, the DRC had a budget of just $4bn (R60bn) last year and poverty is rampant, despite its vast riches of copper, cobalt and other natural resources. The government needs more money to meet President Felix Tshisekedi’s pledges to provide free education and expand access to healthcare. The task of raising it has fallen to Kazadi, 55, an economist who previously served in the central bank and finance ministry.  

While the International Monetary Fund has agreed to give the central African nation $3bn (R45bn) in financing since Kazadi took up his post in April, and the African Development Bank and World Bank will provide hundreds of millions of dollars more, that won’t be enough to fund the country’s proposed $10.5bn (R157.4bn) budget for 2022. ..

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