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April 19, 2012 – 8:36 am | Views: 1611

By Jonny Hogg

KINSHASA (Reuters) – Democratic Republic of

Congo President Joseph Kabila named finance minister Matata Ponyo Mapon as his new prime minister, the government said on

Wednesday, in a move aimed at improving the central African state’s business environment.

Congo's Kabila taps finance minister for premier post

Matata Ponyo Mapon

The nomination

comes more than a month after the former government resigned to allow Kabila, who was re-elected in November in elections

broadly criticised by observers for fraud and organisational chaos, to form a new team.

“I can confirm that (Ponyo)

was named prime minister this afternoon,” said Richard Muyej, acting government spokesman. “In my opinion the current

preoccupation is with the economy… He’s well known internationally,” Muyej continued.

Ponyo became minister of

finance in 2010 and oversaw 7 percent growth in the economy last year.

The country has been praised by the IMF for its

fiscal management under Ponyo, although a report released last week by the World Bank warned that weak institutions and

illegal taxation was slowing expansion.

“His appointment could be a positive sign, if he’s able to run the government

effectively. Hopefully he can also improve the business climate,” a Western diplomat said.

Congo is Africa’s second

largest copper producer but also lies bottom of the UN’s development index – a measure of wealth, health and education –

with much of the population mired in poverty after decades of corruption and conflict.

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Congo’s Kabila taps finance minister for premier post

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