Congo Affidavit on Gecamines Deal May Allow IMF Loans to Proceed

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s release of an affidavit explaining a mining deal by state-run Gecamines may allow the International Monetary Fund to proceed with loans for the country, an official at the lender said.

The IMF halted loans to Congo last year after the country failed to provide full details of the deal with a company held by Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler. Gecamines Chairman Albert Yuma and Mines Minster Martin Kabwelulu signed an affidavit on May 7 detailing the 2011 transfer of 25 percent of Eurasian Natural Resources Corp.’s Comide copper and cobalt project.

“While the publication of the affidavit allows the Fund to move forward with a new program, there still remain weaknesses in governance and transparency in the management of mineral resources, some of which have been revealed by this transaction,” Oscar Melhado, the Congo representative of the Washington, D.C.-based IMF, said today by e-mail.

Yuma and Kabwelulu didn’t immediately respond to e-mails and messages left on their mobile phones seeking comment.

Congo lost out on $225 million in loans after the IMF cut its program last November. The cancellation also postponed consideration by the African Development Bank of a possible $87 million in budget support to the central African country.

Congo, the eighth-largest copper producer in 2012, tied for last in this year’s UN Human Development Index, measuring indicators of poverty, health, education, and gender equality.

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