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Last Updated: Friday, 19 March, 2004, 18:21 GMT
DR Congo drive to lure investors
The Wagenya people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the River Congo
Congo does not have an extensive road network - people use the rivers
The Democratic Republic of Congo is aiming to attract more foreign investors to help improve its economy.

The government will announce tenders worth $270m in April to rebuild the country's war-shattered infrastructure, the Reuters news agency reported.

Inflation is down while the country saw 5-7% growth in 2003, central bank governor Jean-Claude Mulongo said.

DR Congo officials have been addressing officials and members of the business community in South Africa.

Donor programme

A peace deal was signed in DR Congo last year but since the accords there has been fighting in the north-eastern district of Ituri.

But Mr Mulongo said on Friday that conditions in the country had greatly improved.

A company of Congolese rebel soldiers (1998 file photo)
The country has been shattered by war
"The peace we have achieved... makes the DRC a very attractive investment destination," he said.

He said the country was under pressure to move forward as presently over half of its budget is made up from international hand-outs.

DR Congo is gearing up for a massive donor-funded programme to rebuild its economy.

Privatisation study

In December, World Bank donors pledged at least $3.9bn to the country for the 2004-06 period, of which 70% is to be spent on transport projects.

Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Jose Endundo told the meeting that his country is looking for foreign companies to help rebuild the road network.

He said at the moment more than 90% of DR Congo's traffic takes place on its rivers and that the road and railway networks were in a terrible state.

There are plans to connect the more developed western part of the country with the east.

Mr Endundo said the authorities in conjunction with the World Bank were looking into possibly privatising all state-owned companies involving airports, trains, communications, railways and ports.

"We would also like to establish a stock exchange hopefully by next year," he said.

Officials expect the country's economy to grow by 6% in 2004.


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