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PRESS RELEASE

New Country Assistance Strategy to Support the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Economic Growth and Transformation

May 9, 2013

WASHINGTON, May 9, 2013 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors today discussed a new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) to support the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s effort to strengthen the country’s foundations for economic expansion and shared prosperity. Improving access to basic social services, strengthening governance, providing opportunities for women and addressing climate change are four crosscutting objectives.

The Board also approved a $US100 million grant for the Urban Development Project, and $US66.95 million grant in additional financing for the Governance Capacity Enhancement Project. Both projects support the new CAS and are financed through the International Development Association (IDA)*.

“Through this new Country Assistance Strategy, the World Bank is committed to the DRC’s progress to share its prosperity and reduce poverty to reach the Millennium Development Goals,” said Eustache Ouayoro, the World Bank Country Director for the DRC.  “Expanded production in the mining sector (copper, cobalt, zinc, and gold) revitalization of the agricultural sector, transparency and competition in the forestry and oil sectors, and steps taken to address fragility and conflict in the Eastern provinces are essential to reach the MDGs.”

The new four-year CAS will cover the 2013 through 2016 financial years, and proposes funding of approximately US$760 million in the first period and an estimated US$500 million for the last period to support IDA operations.

The strategy is aligned with the Government’s second Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and focuses on four strategic objectives:  increasing the effectiveness of the state at the center and at decentralized levels and improving good governance while strengthening the development impact of World Bank operations; boosting economic competitiveness by accelerating private-sector-led growth that will create jobs; improving social service delivery, and addressing the development deficits contributing to fragility and conflicts in DRC's Eastern provinces. Gender and climate change are treated as crosscutting issues and are addressed through the above four strategic objectives.

The US$100 million Urban Development Project will target the cities of Bukavu, Kalemie, Kikwit, Kindu, Matadi, and Mbandaka, with an aggregate population of about 2 million. The project will support the Government’s efforts to improve citizen access to basic services such as roads, water and electricity, boost the capacity of authorities to manage the cities, and strengthen the accountability link between local government officials and the population.

“The DRC is undergoing a rapid and unplanned urbanization as people move into cities seeking jobs,” said Mahine Diop, Task Team Leader for the project. "This project's focus on shoring up the legal framework and capacity building at all levels of government will bring basic services and livelihood improvements to the country’s burgeoning city populations.”

The $US66.95 million additional financing for the Governance Capacity Enhancement Project will contribute to the CAS goal of improving good governance by supporting the development of functioning public management systems across all levels of government. The project will improve financial and procurement management systems and improve capacity in four provinces (Bandundu, Katanga, Kasai Occidental, and South Kivu).

“DRC has huge potential to grow more quickly, reduce poverty, and improve human development indicators,” said Jean Mabi Mulumba, Task Team Leader for the project. “Addressing governance issues is critical to the country’s progress in these areas and in reaching its Millennium Development Goals.”

*The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 81 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change for 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 108 countries. Annual commitments have increased steadily and averaged about $15 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent of commitments going to Africa.

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2013/380/AFR