KINSHASA (5 August 2011) – The United Nations Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, Cephas Lumina, urged the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to undertake an audit of the country’s debt, as a first step to increase transparency and accountability in the management and use of public resources.
“The Government needs a clear picture of the country’s debt burden to lay the foundation for a transparent and effective public debt management system and avoid a renewed build up of unsustainable debt in the future,” said Mr. Lumina at the end of his ten-day fact-finding mission*.
In July last year, the country qualified for debt relief after completing the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries’ (HIPC) Initiative and was expected to have up to 80 percent of its external debt of $13 billion cancelled.
“I commend the Government for implementing policies that have led to a budget surplus this year and for attaining the completion point under the HIPC Initiative,” Mr. Lumina said. “These achievements will enable the authorities to improve the delivery of human rights-related basic social services, such as water, sanitation, education, health, and housing.”
However, the UN Independent Expert noted, corruption, a narrow revenue base and the fragile security situation in parts of the country remain significant challenges. “Sustainable development will not be possible without resolving them,” he stressed….(*) Check the Independent Expert full end-of-mission statement here.