Kinshasa, DRC, August 10, 2009–The
Investment Climate Advisory Services of the World Bank Group today agreed
to support the Democratic Republic of Congo’s planned special economic
zone aimed at encouraging investment and employment opportunities. The
World Bank Group will provide technical assistance on legal, institutional
and regulatory issues, as well as on the planning of the zone, to support
a secure and transparent environment for private sector investors.
A special economic zone, or SEZ, is
a physical space that facilitates access to essential infrastructure and
land and provides simplified mechanisms for business registration and operation.
The SEZ can be used as a platform for reforms that would later be extended
to the rest of a country.
A cooperation agreement to undertake
a SEZ feasibility study was signed today by Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC
Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, and the DRC Minister of Finance,
Athanase Matenda Kyelu. The signing coincided with a two-day visit to DRC
by Robert B. Zoellick, President of the World Bank.
“The Congolese are eager to encourage
private sector investment to see the benefits of the employment and other
opportunities it will create. With this cooperation agreement, the World
Bank Group and the DRC government can establish sound foundations for the
successful development of an SEZ in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
said Jean-Philippe Prosper, IFC’s Director for Eastern and Southern Africa.
In July 2009, a pilot SEZ site at N’Sele,
close to the capital city Kinshasa, was proposed by the government’s SEZ
steering committee. The site would be suitable for the development of agribusiness
operations that could supply Kinshasa with food products that are now imported.
Pierre Guislain, Director of the Investment
Climate Advisory Services of the World Bank Group said, “The creation
of a special economic zone will allow the DRC Government to pursue options
to improve the overall business environment in the country, and thus attract
investments in sectors that have been long neglected.”
The World Bank Group will aim to support
the design of a legal, institutional and regulatory framework for special
economic zones in the country, and develop a master plan, based on a demand
assessment. An international private SEZ operator is eventually expected
to be identified, to manage and develop the site in the partnership with
the Congolese state.
The feasibility study will be supported
by IFC’s Conflict-Affected States in Africa initiative, a program financed
by Ireland, the Netherlands and Norway that aims to support economic growth
in African countries recovering from conflict. The initiative helps rebuild
the private sector by improving the business environment, strengthening
small and medium sized enterprises, developing financial markets, and increasing
private sector involvement in infrastructure. The feasibility study is
expected to cost $3 million.
“This support shows the desire of the
World Bank Group to jointly work with the DRC Government to improve the
investment climate in our country, in order to promote the private sector,
to develop productive capacities, to create lasting and paying jobs, and
to fight poverty”, added Simon Mboso Kiamputu, the DRC Minister of Industry.
About the Investment Climate Advisory
Services of the World Bank Group
The Investment Climate Advisory Services
of the World Bank Group helps governments implement reforms to improve
their business environment, and encourage and retain investment, thus fostering
competitive markets, growth and job creation. Funding is provided by the
World Bank Group (IFC, MIGA, and the World Bank) and over fifteen donor
partners working through the multi-donor FIAS platform.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives.
We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting
private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory
and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments
totaled US$15 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing
countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.