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World Bank, Congo sign agreement for economic diversification

The Congolese government and the World Bank on Wednesday signed in Brazzaville a credit agreement of US$10 million for a forest and economic diversification project (PFDE), the Congolese ministry of finance, budget and public portfolio announced in a communiqué.

The agreement was signed by the Congolese minister of finance, budget and public portfolio, Gilbert Ondongo and the World Bank Operations Director for DR Congo and Republic of Congo, Eustache Ouayoro.

The World Bank credit is expected to help Congo diversify its economy and create jobs, the forest sector being the main provider of jobs behind the civil service.

PFDE comes in the nick of time in view of the dependency of the Congolese economy on the oil sector which contributes at about 70% to the states’s budgetary revenues.

It will help strengthen the country’s capacity, promote a smooth application of forest legislation, improve the environment of reforms for the participation of local communities and the private sector in the sustainable management of forests and reafforestation.

“This project contributes to the diversification of the economy. This is fundamental for Congo which has nearly 20 million hectares of forest covering almost 65% of the territory. The forest is an important sector for the Congolese economy,” Ouayoro said.

Timber was Congo’s main export before being overtaken in 1973 by oil.

According to the World Bank operations Director for the two Congos, 50% of the certified forests of the Congo basin are located in the Republic of Congo, which acts as a leader in terms of the sustainable conservation and management of forest ecosystems in Central Africa.

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