Congo, Republic of the (ROC) - Economic development

The 1982–86 development plan called for expenditures of over $2.5 billion for the improvement of infrastructure (roads, electricity, water) and for the development of production in agriculture, forestry, and light industry; however, economic difficulties caused the plan to be cut back sharply. The 1987–91 development plan promoted agricultural self-sufficiency and rural development through the planned creation of 160 village centers and a mandatory national service program for youths. Reduction of the country's dependency on petroleum and the reform of the parastatal sector were set as priorities. The devaluation of the CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine) franc in 1994 was implemented to boost those economic activities which did not rely on imports.

France is the leading foreign donor country. For a time the country reduced its participation (1985–89), but raised it to record levels in 1990. China and the former Soviet Union also provided substantial aid. Between 1946 and 1999, Congo also received funds from the European Economic Community (now the European Union), from the World Bank, the International Development Agency, and the African Development Bank.

In the mid-1990s, Congo embarked on a path of economic reform, including reform of the tax, investment, labor, and hydrocarbon codes. The privatization of state-owned enterprises was planned, particularly telecommunications and transportation monopolies. The Paris Club agreed to a debt restructuring plan in 1996. When war broke out in 1997, economic reform came to a halt. President Sassou-Nguesso, reelected in 2002, indicated his desire to reestablish cooperation with international financial institutions, and to further pursue privatization and other economic reforms. The president's economic program, called Nouvelle espérance or "new hope," was to cover the period 2003–10. A peace accord was signed in March 2003, which was hoped would pave the way for sound economic development.

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