IRIN

BRAZZAVILLE, 6 July 2012 (IRIN) – Shaken by sporadic civil war between 1998 and 2003, the Pool Region of southeastern Congo is moving forward thanks, in part, to a US$1 billion state infrastructure development programme.

Nineteen members of ex-rebel leader Pastor Ntoumi’s party will run in Congo’s July legislative elections

Starting this year the new funding will allow an “accelerated municipalization” programme, meaning the construction of roads, bridges, schools, military barracks, police stations, health centres, electrification and water supply systems, and even sports facilities.

Meanwhile, a number of former rebels from the region are running for parliament in the 15 July elections, offering renewed hope that Pool is turning its back on conflict.

Starting this year the new funding will allow an “accelerated municipalization” programme, meaning the construction of roads, bridges, schools, military barracks, police stations, health centres, electrification and water supply systems, and even sports facilities.

All 13 districts of Pool (population 350,000) will benefit, say officials. Some of the funding will go towards marking the country’s 52nd anniversary of independence on 15 August.

Pool’s capital, Kinkala, is to get 21km of additional paved roads.

“To date, projects related to Independence Day, including the boulevard that will host military and civilian parades, the presidential lounge, and a heliport accommodating up to five helicopters, are proceeding smoothly,” said Minister of Planning Pierre Moussa.

“There are some sites to be delivered before 15 August and we have visited them. We think that half way through we are pleased with progress to date,” said chief project coordinator Jean-Jacques Bouya.

A 7,000 seat stadium is on track to be completed by a Chinese company. “Sport always reconciles suffering people more than other initiatives,” said the prefect of Pool, Col Jean-Michel Sangha.

Since the end of the civil war, only one large infrastructure project has been completed in Pool: construction of a 68km road between Brazzaville and Kinkala costing US$64 million and funded mainly by the European Union. Read more…