The World Bank has halted funding for humanitarian and development projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after the government liquidated the project fund. However, the World Bank was still awaiting paperwork on the progress of the projects before committing further funds. The abrupt decision to alter the financing structure and liquidate the project fundraises concerns about weak governance in the DRC.
The World Bank has halted funding for more than $1 billion in humanitarian and development projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo after the government abruptly liquidated the project fund. As part of the $1.04 billion total, $91 million had already been granted for the projects, according to the letter, but the bank was still awaiting paperwork on their progress.
The change was due to “the evolution of the legal framework governing public institutions,” according to his statement. Albert Zeufack, the country’s head of operations for the World Bank, stated in a letter dated May 12 that the organization had learned about the choice through the media.
“Before being able to continue to commit the project funds, the government and the World Bank should agree on transitional measures… in order to ensure that the funds are used for the intended purposes,” he said via the letter.
A spokesman for the Congo’s finance ministry stated that he was awaiting approval from the president before making a statement.
Speaking on behalf of the administration, Tina Salama said there would be transitional management of the fund and ruled out any funding suspension. “I think arrangements have been made,” she said. She did not respond to questions about the $91 million.
According to Valery Madianga, the head of a Congolese organization that specializes in public finance auditing, the hasty decision to alter the financing structure is an example of weak governance.
“How can it be … that a public service, which signed a $1 billion program contract with the World Bank, has been dissolved or has changed its social purpose without the latter being aware of it?” he said.
In a letter sent last week, four of Congo’s leading opposition MPs asked the heads of the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the International Monetary Fund to examine their finances there because they suspected misappropriation.