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Congo an economic 'bright spot' in Africa, says IMF chief

·1-min read

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo is a rare "bright spot" in Africa's economic performance as high commodity prices and government reform improve finances, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.

Congo's economy is expected to grow 5.4% this year and 6.4% in 2022, Kristalina Georgieva told a news conference in Kinshasa after meeting Congo President Felix Tshisekedi.

That outpaces total Sub-Saharan African growth of 3.7% this year and 3.8% in 2022.

Congo "benefits from higher commodity prices but above all benefits from the reforms that the president and the government have been pursuing," Georgieva said.

The country is Africa’s top producer of copper and the world’s leading miner of cobalt, used in the making of electric car batteries. But chronic corruption, mismanagement and conflict have stunted output and left the vast majority of the country in poverty.

Tshisekedi, in power since 2019, has tried to turn the tide of spiralling inflation and depleted forex reserves under his predecessor Joseph Kabila.

Reforms include greater independence of the central bank and more efficient revenue collection.

Congo has published old mining contracts that were previously secret, massively increased its foreign reserves and replaced the board of both the Central Bank and the state mining company Gecamines.

Georgieva said the world economy is recovering from the worst impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, but has lost a bit of momentum with the United States and China slowing down.

The world economy is expected to grow 5.9% this year and 4.9% next, she said.

(Reporting by Edward McAllister; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall; Editing by Bate Felix)

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