Inauguration of the regional Office for the DRC and Republic of Congo, CDFO
Kinshasa, 31 July 2007 - Mr. Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank Group, recently paid an official visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo from 29 to 31 July, during which he was received in audience by His Excellency Joseph Kabila, President of the Republic.
Mr. Kaberuka also met with the President of the National Assembly, the Prime Minister, and the Vice-President of the Senate. The President of the Bank Group and his delegation held several working sessions with the Minister of State, Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of the Economy, Finance and the Budget, the Minister of the Plan, the Minister of Portfolio, and the Minister of SME-SMIs. They also met with the Executing Agencies of ADB projects as well as representatives of public enterprises and the private sector.
All these meetings and discussions helped to better assess the status of cooperation between the ADB and the DRC, and to review the pressing needs of the country, such as longer term projects. The meetings also contributed to the preparation of the 2008-2012 strategy paper, in consultation with the DRC; the document will address the specific challenges and constraints of the country. The strategy will consist of five pillars:
- The new Bank policy for fragile countries provides for a specific assistance programme that meets the complex development challenges of the two countries. The programme will enable the DRC to receive, under ADF XI, additional resources in respect of the new policy for fragile countries.
- The Bank will pay special attention to projects in the DRC that support integration efforts in Central Africa in areas as varied as infrastructure, HIV/AIDS control and agriculture. Activities in these areas will be carried out in close collaboration with CEEAC;
- Conservation and sustainability of forest ecosystems in the Congo Basin, the "second lung of the Earth", will be a priority action for the Bank in the next few years. To that end, the Bank intends to organize a meeting in Tunis, bringing together the States concerned in the region and their development partners, to discuss ways and means of implementing the Contingency Plan adopted by the last summit on the Congo Basin forest;
- Major economic infrastructures will constitute a key pillar of future Bank operations in the DRC. The country’s enormous potential and immense territory require large-scale road, energy and water infrastructures for development. The Bank is examining major projects in the energy sector, particularly the rehabilitation of the Inga sites.
- In its assistance programme for the DRC, the Bank will also lay emphasis on private sector development, particularly improvement of the business climate and financing of private sector projects. The Bank is already examining a large-scale project in the mining sector: the Tenke Fungureme project, which requires 100 million US dollars. Furthermore, the Bank intends to make more efforts in identifying private sector projects in the various sectors of economic activity in the two countries.
Furthermore, President Kaberuka on 31 July in Kinshasa inaugurated the Bank’s Regional Office for the DRC and Republic of Congo, CDFO. The ceremony was graced by the presence of the Minister of Finance, ADB Governor, and several members of Government. The diplomatic corps, representing the countries covered by the Bank, and development partners in the DRC were also present. "We hope that the Bank’s Office will impose itself as a credible partner that can effectively contribute to this economic and financial revival for which we ardently yearn in the two countries," declared the President of the Bank. Mr. A. M. Kyelu, Minister of Finance of the DRC, thanked the ADB for its constant support to the country’s reconstruction efforts. A few moments later, the premises of the newly inaugurated Office witnessed the signing, by Messrs. Kaberuka and Kyelu, of two grant protocols of agreement: one for a water and sanitation project for Kasangulu, Lisala and Tshikapa towns amounting to 105 million dollars, and the other for the socio-economic reintegration of demobilized persons, amounting to 22 million dollars.
This visit is considered by the two parties as a key step in revitalizing the partnership between ADB and the DRC; it is also expected to significantly increase the projects and programmes portfolio in the DRC. The Congolese authorities paid tribute to the ADB for its constant support to the DRC, and President Kaberuka thanked the Congolese authorities for the quality and warmth of the welcome given to the ADB delegation. Mr. Kaberuka also reaffirmed the Bank’s commitment to accompany the DRC on its path to stability and sustainable growth.