DRC needs sound legal systems, says World Bank

By: Bloomberg
Published: 30 Nov 07 - 0:00

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which has a tenth of the world's copper reserves, must create sound legal systems, if it is to attract more private investors and kick-start growth, the World Bank says.

The DRC needs to improve its legal framework in order to create a completely different climate' of investment, says Jean-Michel Happi, the World Bank's representative in the Central African country.
The DRC is considered one of the worst places to do business, Happi says.

The country, which also has the world's biggest cobalt deposits, this year cancelled a title deed held by London-based Central African Mining & Exploration and said an agreement with Brinkley Mining plc would not stand.

Mines Minister Martin Kabwelulu has since said Central African's permit is not immediately threatened.

After two civil wars between 1996 and 2003, which left four-million people dead and ruined the economy, the DRC is relying on private investment to rebuild basic infrastructure and services.

The DRC treats serious investors fairly, Kabwelulu said in a November 6 interview.

"We are happy to work with investors who respect the rules. There is absolutely no reason why they should worry,'' he said.


A government commission this year reviewed over 60 mining contracts and on November 8 submitted a report to Cabinet
suggesting changes which would help increase State revenue and improve transparency in the industry.

Companies such as Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, the world's second biggest copper-miner, and BHP Billiton, the biggest mining company in the world, are having their contracts reviewed.

The chairperson of the Commission for the Review of Mining Contracts, Alexis Mikandji, says the body has recommended that 23
contracts should be cancelled and 38 changed.

London-based human rights group Global Witness last month said the review process lacked transparency and risked simply
‘rubber-stamping'' existing deals.

The World Bank was not associated to the commission, Happi says. He cannot not comment on the report, as he has not
seen a copy, he adds.

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