In Zaire, President Mobutu Sese Seko has received representatives from the group of twelve industrialised countries pledged to offer aid to help the ailing Zairean economy.
In Zaire, President Mobutu Sese Seko has received representatives from the group of twelve industrialised countries pledged to offer aid to help the ailing Zairean economy. The first round of talks was held at the President's official residence in Kinshasa on Saturday (19 May).
SYNOPSIS: Twelve African and European states agreed last June to grant aid to Zaire after President Mobutu presented them with an economic recovery plan. Belgium, Zaire's former colonial power, played a key role in these negotiations, and a delegation on a five-day visit to Kinshasa met President Mobutu to discuss plans to counter Zaire's financial crisis. Belgium Co-operation and Development Minister Mark Eyskens, spoke about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decision to grant Zaire a substantial loan.
The IMF announced in March it would grant Zaire one hundred and fifty million dollars in stand-by credit to help restore economic stability to the country. There are conditions attached to the loan and a six-man team of financial experts sponsored by the IMF are studying the Zairean economy and proposing reforms.
IMF aid will be supplemented by grants from the twelve countries involved in the recovery plan, under an agreement reached in Brussels last year.
Zaire's financial problems were the central theme of President Mobutu's discussions with the diplomatic representatives from some of twelve countries. These talks were held on board the Presidential yacht in Kinshasa harbour. Inflation has resulted in massive price increase of basic goods such as flour, sugar, powdered milk and cooking oil while the slump on the world copper market has severely affected Zaire's already weak financial position. The country depends on copper exports for more than seventy per cent of its foreign exchange revenue and the state-owned mining company is faced with acute shortages of fuel, machinery, raw material and qualified technicians.
Ambassadors from Belgium, the United States, Britain, France, West Germany, Italy and Saudi Arabia met President Mobutu to discuss their plant to offer Zaire about seventy million dollars (U.S.). Even with this aid and the IMF grant, Zaire's financial problems require radical economic reforms within the country before the hoped-for recovery can be achieved.