Congo requests financial support from donors amid economic crisis – by Aaron Ross (Reuters Africa – July 6, 2017)

KINSHASA, July 6 (Reuters) – Democratic Republic of Congo’s government has formally requested financial support from international donors as it confronts a worsening economic crisis, a letter seen by Reuters on Thursday showed.

Africa’s top copper producer has been hard hit by low commodity prices in recent years. It has only enough foreign currency reserves to cover about three weeks of imports and its franc currency has lost half its value in the past year.

The letter was dated July 4 and addressed to the U.N. Secretary General as well as in-country representatives of the African Union, the European Union, three regional African organisations and other foreign ambassadors. In it, Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala’s chief of staff, Michel Nsomue, wrote that the government “needs the support of the international community and thus of its traditional partners”.

“In light of the current context, (the government) awaits in particular from these (partners) balance of payments support and budget support to allow it to confront the current economic difficulties provoked by the collapse of prices of raw materials on the world market,” Nsomue wrote.

The letter does not say how much money the government is seeking. It informally sought up to $500 million from the World Bank and African Development Bank last year.

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