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World Bank approves US $125-million grant for reconstruction

NAIROBI, 9 Dec 2005 (IRIN) - The World Bank has approved a US $125-million grant to help the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) rebuild its agricultural production and enhance food security, the bank said on Thursday.

In a statement issued in Washington, the bank said the grant would provide additional financing for priority activities in the country that were not being financed under its original Emergency Multi-sector Rehabilitation and Reconstruction project, approved in August 2002.

"The project seeks to restore essential social services and build community infrastructure and strengthen government capacity to implement and manage medium and long-term development programmes," the bank said.

It said the Emergency Multi-sector Rehabilitation and Reconstruction project would help prevent the further deterioration of health and loss of life of people by increasing food security, delivering health care and other basic services, restoring water and energy supply services, and improving public health conditions.

"It will support the economy by bringing down the costs of transportation and it is expected to reduce poverty among both agricultural producers and consumers by stimulating agricultural production and reducing costs and time of transporting food from producers to markets," the bank said.

It added that the project would benefit the Congolese people by helping to create an improved legal and regulatory framework and more stable and effective institutions - critical conditions for better governance.

"It will lay the groundwork for future policy and institutional reforms and a future investment programme for the country's development," Abdelmoula Ghzala, the World Bank Task Team Leader of the project, was quoted as saying.

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