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Congo Premier Proposes $6.7 Billion Budget for 2011

Congolese Prime Minister Adolphe Muzito proposed a budget of $6.7 billion for 2011 and said the economy is expected to expand 6.8 percent, while inflation is forecast to average 9.9 percent for the year.

Muzito submitted the proposals to parliament today in Kinshasa, the capital, his office said in an e-mailed statement. Three billion dollars of the budget will come from external sources, the statement said.

Higher mineral prices may help Congo’s economy expand 6.1 percent this year, better than the 5.4 percent anticipated at the beginning of the year, Muzito said last month. The Central African nation holds 4 percent of global copper reserves, is among the world’s largest producers of cobalt and industrial diamonds, and is Africa’s largest producer of tin ore, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s website.

The International Monetary Fund said on Sept. 17 that the country’s short-term economic outlook “has significantly improved.” Congo is recovering from more than a decade and a half of conflict that destroyed most of the country’s infrastructure and left its economy in disarray.

The Central Bank of Congo has cut its benchmark interest rate this year by almost 50 percentage points to 22 percent. Annualized inflation was 7.5 percent as of Sept. 26, half the average rate projected for the year by the central bank and down from 45 percent at the end of 2009.

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