1 June 2012

Congo-Brazzaville: World Bank Credit to Create Jobs and Diversify Economy

press release

Washington — US$10 Million for sustainable forest sector development

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved on May 24, 2012 a US$10 million credit from the International Development Association (IDA) for the Forest and Economic Diversification project in the Republic of Congo.

The Credit will help diversify the Congolese economy and create new jobs, which is currently the highest priority of the government. The forestry sector is the largest formal sector employer in Congo apart from the civil service, and has been identified by the government as one of four sectors with the highest potential for diversifying the economy, which is overly dependent on oil.

Sylvie Dossou Kouame, the World Bank Country Manager for Congo said: "The government of Congo is strongly committed to improving the management of its forests and to generate additional employment in the sector. The country will put up a counterpart contribution of US$22.6 million, more than twice the amount of the IDA credit. Clearly, Congo is not in it for the cash. It is looking for solid technical advice, which the Bank can help access."

The Forest and Economic Diversification project will help increase the capacity of the Republic of Congo to: (i) promote better implementation of its forestry legislation; and (ii) enhance the policy environment for participation of local communities and the private sector in sustainable forest management and reforestation.

"Congo is already a leader in forest management with the highest percentage of forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council in the sub-region", said Simon Rietbergen, Task Team Leader for the project at the World Bank. "The technical assistance to be provided by the project will enable the government to generalize improved forest management practices and provide strategic support for local communities and small forest enterprises."

This project will run over a period of five (5) years.

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