The italian investors have only embarassment

12 April 2010
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First Part of the interview to Umba Ilunga, the highest authority of the DRC by Rose Santomauro  Italy.


Excellence, leading the Democratic Republic of Congo is currently a transitional government that is administering the country with democracy and justice. What are the projects that this government is pursuing the modernization of the country?
Following the political-military crisis that has rocked the Democratic Republic of Congo since August 2, 1998. the main objectives of our government of national unity has arisen during this transition period regarding the normalization of political, economic and social country.
Politically, it is about ensuring one hand, territorial integrity and the restoration of government authority throughout the national territory and, secondly, the creation of conditions conducive to the organization of free and transparent elections in order to equip our country to a democratic constitutional regime.
In economic terms, the objectives focus on creating the conditions conducive to private sector development. Hence the numerous tax advantages, and para customs that our Code of Investments offers investors, who are the real creators of wealth, employment and social welfare.
In social terms, we must hope that the restructuring of basic infrastructure, funded by external partners in the country benefits, raising the investment sector fell dormant for many years, the increase in the tax base through the advent of new contributors and the consequential effects of investment on the whole national life will bring major benefits at the social level.
In other words, this will result in the improvement of living conditions of the Congolese population, which is a key objective of our Government of National Union.

In your  vision , what are the areas of interest for Italian entrepreneurs wishing to invest in the DRC?
The Italians, who are generally dynamic and enterprising people, have the ability to place in any field of activity corresponding to their financial interests. But, as it is to give them guidance, I would emphasize that the degree of destruction of the Congo and the means necessary for its reconstruction so limited that the offer will always be lower than demand in any field - tourism, agriculture, agro- food, mining, energy, construction and the exploitation of oil fields. Investors therefore have only spoiled for choice.

Is it possible to establish productive activities?
Obviously yes. The DRC has great potential for the creation of productive activities due to its climate, flora and fauna and the diversification of its agricultural, forestry and mining.

Are there already activities undertaken by Italian industrialists?
There were actually a number of activities undertaken by some Italian manufacturers, which have been received with great enthusiasm by the Congolese people. Unfortunately, some of them have experienced some slowdown because of the consequences of an unjust war that lasted almost five years and that has ruined the national economy. Among the industrial activities conducted by Italian entrepreneurs, and I quote at random:
- The SOCIR, which is active in oil refining in Moanda;
- The Steel of Maluku, which is active in steel processing;
- Lltenco Marbrezza, undertaking engaged in the processing of marble;
- The Merzario, which specializes in transport;
- The Astaldi undertaking engaged in the construction of the Inga dam and roads;
- The Sadelmi Cogepa, the company that insured the SNEL wiring of power lines;
- The Iz Tours, tourism company (manages the Virunga Park and the keeping of Ruindi).
- The Italcon company recently founded by Cestari Group that is developing some major projects such as wind farm for the electrification of the town of Inongo in the province of Bandundu and restructuring N'Djili international airport in Kinshasa. This Italian company, which has taken its first steps in the context of the economic crisis hardly reassuring, is now reaping the first fruits, they do hope for a bright future in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This shows that no matter what field of activity, courage, patience and perseverance are the key to success.

Are there facilities and guarantees to protect foreign entrepreneur? What is the current picture of the situation from this point of view?
To recover the DRC needs of national and foreign investors. Now, they will not be without a minimum guarantee the normal development of their affairs. It is precisely to attract many foreign investors in the Democratic Republic of Congo that the government is developing several strategies for:
- First, to improve the quality of the acceptance of the  investors and to ensure the analysis of their storage practices to both mining cadastre and to ANAPl (National Agency for Investment Promotion) and until their approval with the ministries deal of planning, finance or mines;
- Then, to offer foreign investors a wide range of tax benefits, para customs code provided on our investment. Regarding the guarantees offered to foreign traders, I think more than the commitments made by the Congolese state to ensure a fair and equitable treatment, it is very important to note that the property rights acquired by the investors are guaranteed by the Constitution and can not be subject to any expropriation or nationalization.


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