During his swearing-in ceremony in Kinshasa on January 20, President Félix Tshisekedi announced that the DRC and China were in talks over $7 billion in infrastructure financing.
During his swearing-in ceremony in Kinshasa on January 20, President Félix Tshisekedi announced that the DRC and China were in talks over $7 billion in infrastructure financing. This represents a renegotiation of the agreement signed under the Joseph Kabila regime, following investigations by the Inspection Générale des Finances (IGF).
Félix Tshisekedi wants to restructure the 2008 contract, estimated at 6.2 billion dollars, between China and the DRC. Congolese authorities claim that the sixteen-year-old agreement has done little to benefit the Congolese people. The new agreement includes infrastructure projects financed by revenues from Sicomines, a copper and cobalt mine. The Head of State has promised to use his power to ensure that “the mistakes of the past will not be repeated”.
To date, less than a third of the amount earmarked for development has been disbursed, according to the Congolese government. Mr. Tshisekedi has stated that a new infrastructure initiative is to be financed through the imminent allocation of funds from the renegotiation of the Sicomines project, reaching a total of $7 billion, over ten years. According to other sources, a first disbursement of $300 million is scheduled for January 2024 and $400 million for April 2024. The government has not disclosed details of the payment schedule.
“To the thorny issue of opening up our territories, a solution in terms of financing has just been made possible, thanks to the forthcoming allocation of funds from the envelope obtained as part of the renegotiation of the Sicomines project, which should reach a total of 7 billion US dollars”, he asserted.
“62% of the Congolese population lives in poverty”.
In his inaugural speech, he also promised to reduce inflation, stabilize the exchange rate and expand industry to create jobs in the country, where over 62% of the population lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. “I am aware of your expectations regarding increased purchasing power and the stability of the Congolese franc,” noted the President.
Felix Tshisekedi was sworn in for a second five-year term in front of more than a dozen African heads of state at the Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa.
This new five-year term, 2024-2029, will aim to “create more jobs by speeding up the promotion of entrepreneurship, protect household purchasing power by stabilizing the level of the currency and controlling the exchange rate, and ensure the security of our people much more effectively, of our territory, of our goods, to pursue the diversification of our economy and increase its competitiveness, to guarantee greater access to basic services and strengthen the efficiency of services”, declared Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi.
The DRC remains one of the world’s leading suppliers of minerals, particularly copper and cobalt, which are crucial raw materials for green energy. Chinese companies own 15 of the DRC’s 19 industrial copper and cobalt mining concessions. The country produces 71% of the world’s cobalt, and around 80% of the DRC’s cobalt is shipped to China for processing.