The president of the World Bank, Robert B. Zoellick, met with President Joseph Kabila for an hour on Tuesday in Goma (North Kivu province). They reviewed the economic issues affecting the DRC amidst the global fincancial crisis.
Mr. Zoellick said that he was very happy to meet President Kabila in Goma, a city which not too long ago was still the epicenter of the armed conflict in eastern Congo. He congratulated the President for the summit held in Goma last week beetween the DRC and Rwanda, saying that there is still much to be done to stabilize the region. Nevertheless, he said, an important step has just been taken.
Mr. Zoellick also revealed that the World Bank is supporting the DRC in its efforts to demobilize militias, with the assistance of the United Nations peacekeeping force in the Congo (MONUC).
He said that he also discussed with President Kabila opportunities to provide assistance to people whose lives have been weakened by wars, especially women who have been raped and children forcibly conscripted into the army.
On the economic front, he said that they reviewed issues related to food safety, and how to advance the commitment made at the G8 summit. He said that the President is very committed to improving the business climate, and added that, for a country twice as large as Western Europe, infrastructure development is indispensable.
He also said that he visited the Inga hydroelectric dam, and that the World Bank is working on the rehabilitation of Inga I and Inga II and looking at how to finance the construction of Inga III.
Mr. Zoellick said that he had contacts with the Congolese Minister of the Environment who, he said, has taken the very encouraging initiatives. He stated that Climate Change provides an opportunity for the DRC to receive additional funding because it has by itself 50% of the African forest.
Mr. Zoellick also said that he discussed with President Kabila the possibility of canceling the debt of the DRC before turning to issues related to the deals signed between the DRC and China.
He said that he was also pleased to have met with members of the political opposition, civil society, the Catholic Church, and university professors to emphasize the diversity of the ressources in the DRC.
Translated by CongoPlanet.com | Article in French