GOMA - A $50m debt owed to the Development Bank of Great Lakes (BDEGL) by the Democratic Republic of Congo is hampering the process of re-opening the financial institution.
The bank that was launched in 1980 collapsed in 1993 owing to what officials said was Zaire (now DRC) defaulting on its loans and regional conflicts in member countries.
Finance Ministers from the three member states of the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL), Rwanda, Burundi and DRC, along with experts from Belgium and the African Development Bank (AfDB), have agreed on principals of recapitalizing and re-activating the defunct bank.
Speaking at the meeting, Rwanda’s Finance Minister, James Musoni, said that it was important to re-launch the institution but this should come after carrying out some important reforms.
“My government is fully supporting the need of re-launching BDEGL and accepts the need for recapitalization and reforms of its operations to enhance development,” Musoni said.
Speaking during the meeting, DRC’s Industry Minister Simon Mboso Kiamputu’s acknowledged his country’s debt and said hat it will be paid back in installments.
Created on September 9, 1977, the Goma-based BDEGL became operational in 1980 with 73 percent of the shares from three member states. The Belgian government owned 18 percent while AfDB had 9 percent.
“We expect DRC to pay the debt of $ 50 million so that the Bank can start as we open for other investors who may want to invest their money in the Bank,” said Emmanuel Ntaganda , an official with the bank.
DR Congo has accepted to pay the whole debt not latter than December 2010.