SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Adine Deford, Cynthia Dunlop, Harry Trott, Xenia von Wedel, Peter Silva

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Statement by HE Barnabe Kikaya bin Karubi, DRC Ambassador of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the UK:

LONDON, December 17, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

"The International Monetary Fund (IMF) decision to suspend its loan to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a deeply upsetting development.

We have worked closely with the IMF for many years to cancel our debt, which was mainly racked up by the corrupt Mobutu regime.  In doing so, our Government has established a strong working relationship with the IMF.  Together, we designed a government economic program that would comply with all the conditions required to qualify for the cancellation of that debt under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries program. When that was achieved we embarked on an economic program that would allow the country to move forward after years of decay and civil wars.

Much economic progress has been realised despite difficult circumstances:

  • between 2009 and 2012 the overall annual growth of our economy went from 2.8% to 7.2%.
  • The inflation rate was brought down from 46% to 3%.
  • The Congolese Franc is stable.
  • Direct private investments are on the rise.
  • Public revenue as well as the national wealth has doubled.
  • The government has introduced a VAT that has helped the tax system for companies.
  • The DRC has joined the OHADA, the African Organisation for the harmonisation of Business Laws that gives security to foreign investments.
  • Special zones of activities with tax relief have been created in order to boost job creation.
  • The government launched a system whereby salaries are paid through the banking system to fight corruption and to feed the banks with fresh cash every month.
  • For the first time in decades, mineral production has reached the historical levels of 1980.

It is this positive trend that the IMF has decided to slow down by its decision to suspend the remaining portion of the loan.

The international community, and our bilateral aid donors in particular, know that we have been cooperative, transparent and above board in all our dealings with the IMF. 

The decision to suspend the remaining portion of the loan at this time is in direct support of opposition forces aligned with those who work for the destabilization of our country and its government.  This is a political attempt on the sovereignty of our nation and will alarm many other African and developing nations throughout the world.

Despite numerous challenges, we are working for a brighter future for all Congolese, and the cancellation of this loan will damage our foreign currency reserves and could destabilize our economy. It will directly hurt the people such loans are intended to help. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) who spread innuendo and claim corruption - without any evidence to back up their claims - need to take responsibility and realize the damage they are doing to economic prospects of the DRC and our population.   They need also know that in such instances they are doing more harm than good to nearly 70 million people.

We can only presume that individuals and groups with political agendas against the Government of President Kabila have influenced the IMF representation in Kinshasa. When the DRC Government has given all the answers it can to all the questions put by the IMF, why now should the IMF office be singling out one contract as the basis for stopping loan disbursements of some $225 million?  Have they fully considered the consequences that cancelling these loans will have on the DRC because they were unsatisfied with paperwork on one contract out of over 130 contracts?

The Government of the DRC has and will continue to work with the IMF and other international financial institutions.  It is in our best interests to do so for numerous reasons, including that such international assistance further helps us put in place the institutions that President Kabila, who has restored democracy to the DRC after years of misrule, believes are essential to sustaining the progress we have made. We want to work with international partners who are demanding but understanding, critical but lucid, and respectful of our independence and sovereignty.

Those who lobby for the cancellation of vital loans - and those who are influenced by such hollow reasoning - are recklessly harming the prosperity of the DRC and its people."

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