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Home / Locations / Middle East & Africa / Congo (DRC) / DRC’s minister of planning builds up energy

Modeste Bahati Lukwebo

Modeste Bahati Lukwebo, minister of Planning for the Democratic Republic of Congo, tells Sebastian Shehadi about the country's vast renewable energy potential, privatisation programme and need for infrastructure investment.  

Q: What is attracting foreign investment to the DRC?

A: Our country has potential in mining, agriculture and hydroelectricity. We are now looking at how to expand and diversify our economy. That is why we make a special point on agriculture. Also the tourism sector [makes us] one of the biggest destinations in the world, because we have many rare animals like the mountain gorilla. We have lots of different types of animals.

We are looking at the possibility of how to share our electricity with the world. The Inga dam generates more than 100,000 milliwatts of electricity, which can be sold to the rest of Africa, to the Middle East and Asia. We also have hundreds of smaller dams which can produce electricity. Also in addition we are on the equator which means we have the sun which can also produce electricity via solar energy. The wind can also produce electricity in our country. Now the most important thing is that we have created many laws to protect investment, which is why we have signed with international courts just to protect private sector investors.

In our country we have liberalised many sectors, like the sectors of insurance, electricity and water. Anybody can come to our country and can transport and sell the electricity as he likes. Now we are planning to put a special point in the exportation of the coffee, tea, cocoa – a lot of agricultural products. That is why we need the corporations who have the technology and the finance to settle a corporation ‘win-win’. If they come we are ready to give them more and more facilities. For example, exempt of taxes for three to five years depending on the sector.

We have also created the visas to facilitate the creation of a company. In our country now if you need to create a company you can do it in three days because we have created a unique counter that provides all of the documentation you need and you only pay $120. In three days you have all the papers and you can start your business.

Q: Every country has challenges that it could overcome to make FDI better. How are you addressing these difficulties?

A:  I think the first challenge is to find the finance. That is why we say that we would prefer to give more facilities to private sectors. At this moment we are waiting for this new law, a partnership between public and private sectors. It’s a law that allows the private sector to come and invest with many facilities and the state’s guarantees. They can come and invest in infrastructure. We need that, for example roads and airports.

Q: Are you happy to see more Chinese investment in infrastructure?

A: Well, we are happy to be open to more people and different investors. China was just a small part – they can’t do it all. With the Chinese it was around $3bn to $6b only – but we need more than $200bn in infrastructure.

Q: Do you think there is still a perception problem regarding political stability in in the DRC?

A: No. Now, I think you can believe us. Because we are in a process to have political stability. Because we now have a programme and an electoral calendar, and elections that take place at the end of this year. I think next year will have political stability which will be a guarantee also for investment.

This article is sourced from fDi Magazine
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