WASHINGTON, June 11, 2013 – The World Bank Board of Directors today approved $US 290 million IDA* funds for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s plans to upgrade and rehabilitate its rail transport infrastructure and to increase productivity and employment in selected agriculture value chains as part of a Growth Poles Program.
“DRC is the largest country in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) with huge potential for feeding its own people and, the rest of the continent,” said Eustache Ouayoro, World Bank Country Director for the DRC. “We welcome the opportunity to support the Government’s plans to rebuild its railroad system and build up its agriculture sector. These projects will help boost income, food security and overall livelihoods for the country’s poorest people.”
The US$180 million IDA grant will fund the ongoing Multimodal Transport Project designed to improve transport connectivity to support national economic integration, restore the National Railway Company of DRC - SNCC’s financial and operational viability and strengthen the operations of other transport state-owned enterprises. The funds will help support the rehabilitation and upgrade of rail track, buildings, workshops, and other facilities, to connect the poorest land-locked provinces of DRC with the main centers of economic activity and to reduce the cost of imports and mineral exports. The funds will also support the development of air and river transport in DRC.
“With these funds the Government will be able to pursue its plans to upgrade railroad transport, and in so doing, improve the access of poor rural farmers to agricultural markets and promote greater use of the country’s rich mineral resources,” said Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development with the Africa Region.
The US$110 Million IDA credit will help fund the Western Growth Poles project designed to support the development of the agribusiness sector and the improvement of the business environment in the DRC. The funds will promote the development of agriculture value chains targeting palm oil, cassava, and rice farmers in the country’s Bas Congo and Kinshasa areas. The funds will also strengthen producers’ organizations, increase their agricultural supply capabilities, develop partnerships between strategic agro-industrials and farmers’ associations, and provide basic rural infrastructure.
“By supporting palm oil, cassava and rice farmers in DRC, these funds will bring income, food and improved livelihoods to the DRC’s rural communities,” said Gaiv Tata, World Bank Director for Finance and Private Sector Development in the Africa Region.
* 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 82 poorest countries, 40 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.