Kinshasa, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 24 June 2008 – Booming investment in the long-neglected mining sector of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is expected to boost national growth to 12% this year, says central bank director of research Vincent Ngonga.
“We’ve raised the expected growth rate, and by the end of the year it will be at 12%, compared to our goal of 8%,” he said here in an interview with Reuters. “However, cumulative 2008 inflation topped 11% by early June,” he added, “ and rising food and fuel costs are expected to push the rate for the full year above 27 % – more than twice the year-end target of 12.1%.
The Central Bank agreed a year-end 12.1% inflation target with the International Monetary Fund earlier this year, as part of the DRC’s efforts to qualify for debt relief.
But prices in early June were 13.6% higher than a year before, according to Central Bank data, and Ngonga said annual inflation was now set to reach 27.43% by the end of the year.
"Perhaps 20% of that is due to budgetary slippage, but 80% is the result of the rising cost of food and fuel on the international market," he insisted.
Reuters reports that the DRC recorded annual inflation of 9.96% at the end of 2007, with growth of 6.3 %. No reliable inflation data is available on areas outside of Kinshasa, DRC’s capital of around 8 million inhabitants, but – according to the news agency – the Central Bank and IMF use Kinshasa’s rate as the country’s indicative rate of inflation.
Congo is still recovering from decades of dictatorship under late dictator Mobutu Sese Seko that destroyed the national economy of the former Belgian colony, then known as Zaire. Before Mobutu’s overthrow in 1997, the country experienced hyper-inflation, with rates reaching 10 000% in 1994.