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Congo averts recession in 2020 thanks to mining sector strength

Democratic Republic of Congo’s economy averted an expected pandemic-induced recession in 2020 to grow 0.8% on the back of strong mining activity, a central bank official said on Tuesday.

Growth is expected to rise to 3.2% this year, the official, Plante Kibadhi, said in a tweet.

The International Monetary Fund projected last April that Congo’s economy would contract by 2.2% in 2020 because of a fall in prices for key exports like copper and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The price of copper, of which Congo is Africa’s biggest producer, has rallied by 93% since last March. It briefly touched its highest point since 2012 on Tuesday, driven by optimism over Chinese demand and the global economic recovery.

The central bank on Tuesday maintained its benchmark interest rate at 18.5% to continue its “cautious monetary policy in a context of pressure on public spending,” according to a presentation by Kibadhi.

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