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China to Lend DRC $5 Billion to Develop Infrastructure

VOA News - September 18, 2007

China has agreed to lend the Democratic Republic of Congo $5 billion to modernize the country's infrastructure and develop its mining industry.

Chinese and Congolese officials signed the draft loan agreement in the DRC capital, Kinshasa, on Monday.

Under terms of the deal, the DRC will borrow $3 billion to build new infrastructure, including a major highway, a railway, 31 hospitals, 145 health centers and two universities.

The highway will link Kisangani in northeastern Congo to Kasumbalesa near its southern border with Zambia. The railway will connect Congo's southern mining heartland to the western port of Matadi.

Congo's government will use the remaining $2 billion to upgrade its aging mining infrastructure through joint ventures with Chinese companies.

Beijing is keen to gain access to raw materials from Africa to feed the fast-growing Chinese economy.

Congo possesses a wealth of natural resources, such as cobalt, copper, gold and diamonds. Exploitation of these resources has been slowed by years of war.

Eastern Congo remains volatile but peace has held elsewhere in the country since landmark elections last year.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.


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