Zaire Table of Contents
In 1990 Zaire received an estimated US$711.1 million in development assistance. This sum represented a decline from US$805 million in foreign aid from bilateral donors in 1987. France, Germany, and Italy accounted for much of the foreign aid in 1990, with France (US$180 million) replacing Belgium as Zaire's primary development partner. Belgium's importance to Zaire as a source of aid and trade declined in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as relations between the two countries broke down over the issue of human rights abuses in Zaire. As Zaire's economic situation deteriorated in the early 1990s, foreign donors and creditors provided assistance primarily in the form of food aid. Most other bilateral and multilateral aid had been terminated in 1990-91 and was unlikely to resume until Mobutu left the scene and democratization took hold in Zaire. Nevertheless, China reportedly has become more active in Zaire since the cutoff of aid from the West. More than 1,000 Chinese technicians are reported to be working in Zaire on agricultural and forestry projects.
In late 1992, in an attempt to tackle Zaire's economic crisis and court foreign donors, the government of Prime Minister Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba announced its commitment to economic liberalization (including privatization of some parastatals) and stabilization. To that end, it initiated several measures, such as the imposition of import quotas and tightened controls of the money supply. In addition, the administration declared its intention of curbing government spending, controlling inflation, and ending corruption, in particular illegal disbursement and the arbitrary allocation of credit. International organizations and various foreign governments expressed interest in resuming aid but remained cautious, unconvinced that a credible stabilization program was possible in Zaire. Belgium and France provided additional humanitarian assistance, but continued to insist that a full resumption of aid depends on democratic change in Zaire (in particular, concrete evidence that the prime minister's government actually controls finances and the military) and an IMF-World Bank sponsorship of the government's economic program.
Data as of December 1993