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Tunis, 14 December 2004 – The African Development Bank (ADB) Group clears 33% of Congo’s arrears and resumes its assistance to the country by supporting economic reforms programme.
The ADB Vice-President for Central and West operations, Mr. Bisi Ogunjobi, and Congo Minister of Economy, Finance and Budget, Mr. Rigobert Andely, signed today in Tunis a grant agreement of US$ 51.1 million (33.3 million Units of Account or 26 billion FCFA) to finance an arrears clearance programme. Mr Ogunjobi and Mr. Andely also ratified an African Development Fund (ADF) loan agreement, to support the Policy Reform Programme, reaching US$ 10.7 million (UA 7 million).
After Burundi, Congo is the second country to benefit the new ADB Group assistance to post-conflicts countries (PCC), approved on 19 July 2004. The ADB Group arrears clearance programme will allow for rapid resumption of Bank Group assistance to the country in conjunction with the International Financial Institutions and the Donor community. Congo’s Bank Group arrears amounted to UA 100 million (US$ 150 million or CFA 116 billion) at the end of 2003. ADB contribution to clear these arrears represents 33.3% of the total amount, Congo having catered in the tune of 34.3% and Donors the remaining 32.4%.
M. Ogunjobi emphasized the fact that this operation has been enabled by the significant economic recovery achieved by Congo, particularly in terms of reforms, governance and transparency. M. Andely indicated that Congo has been commended by the International Community for its great transparency in its oil sector, one of the main pillars of its economic growth.
Minister Andely expressed its gratitude to the Bank for normalizing its relations with the country allowing other partners’ lifting of sanctions, such as France, Norway and the European Commission, which participated to finance this programme.
In order to maintain economic and social efforts, the ADB Group also contributes the Policy Reform Programme aimed at boosting the economy, and alleviating poverty in order to improve the living conditions of the population. M. Andely underlined the necessity to encourage the participation of Private sector and civil society in the country development process. The programme seeks to promote growth that will create jobs and generate income for the largest number of people as well as facilitate access to basic public services.
ADB Group operations in Congo started in 1972. To date, the Bank Group has committed in the country a total amount of US $ 404.66 million for 27 operations.
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