The World Bank wants Congo to change a minerals for infrastructure deal with China before giving the debt relief. However, changing the deal could cancel 3 billion dollars of infrastructure improvements to Congo.
From this Reuters article, writer Lesley Wroughton explains this give and take that Congo has to do.
The relief would cover some $7 billion of non-commercial loans from the IMF, World Bank and bilateral debt held bilaterally with governments. The savings to Congo would amount to $400 million a year in payments.
Zoellick said there had been progress in talks between Congo and China on amending a $9 billion infrastructure-for-minerals deal, components of which have held up the debt relief accord.
The International Monetary Fund fears the contract, which uses Congo's mineral reserves as a guarantee for infrastructure projects, could plunge the central African nation deeper into debt and has delayed forgiveness of most of the $10 billion Congo already owes.
A mission from the IMF is currently in Congo.
Agreed early last year, the contract with China is a cornerstone of Kabila's post-conflict reconstruction policy following decades of dictatorship and a 1998-2003 war that left the former Belgian colony's infrastructure in ruins.
The deal is comprised of two phases of infrastructure projects with a total price tag of $6 billion aimed at rehabilitating thousands of kilometres of road and rail connections and constructing schools and hospitals.
An additional $3 billion is slotted toward developing new Chinese copper and cobalt mines in Congo's mineral-rich Katanga province, where reserves will serve to pay back the costs of those projects.