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Congolese Prime Minister Seeks Better Governance for Investment

Democratic Republic of Congo’s prime minister, Matata Ponyo, called for better governance to attract private investment in his first address to lawmakers since naming a new government on April 28.

“One of the biggest challenges for the government is the improvement of the business climate,” he said in a speech in Kinshasa, the capital, today. “The private sector must be the motor of economic growth.”

Ponyo, who was appointed prime minister on April 18, pledged to continue the economic policies he pursued as finance minister since 2010 that have seen the Central African country achieve annual growth of about 7 percent. The government will reduce obstacles for private enterprise, including the lowering of tariffs, he said.

Congo produces about 4 percent of the world’s copper and around half its cobalt and is currently exploring for oil. Transparency International ranked the country the 168th most corrupt nation in the world out of 183 countries surveyed in its 2011 annual report.

Ponyo also called for parliament to pass a new law to regulate the oil industry and revise the country’s mining code to increase revenue and to standardize fiscal regimes for mining companies. Any new sales of mining assets should be open to competitive bidding, he said.

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