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Cablegate: Brazzaville in Brief - November 10, 2008

P R 101602Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRAZZAVILLE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1196
INFO AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
AMEMBASSY BRAZZAVILLE

UNCLAS BRAZZAVILLE 000298


DEPT FOR AF/C MASHRAF
DEPT FOR AF/PDPA TIJEN AYBAR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ECON EAID PGOV CF
SUBJECT: BRAZZAVILLE IN BRIEF - NOVEMBER 10, 2008

1. Embassy Brazzaville is an unclassified post.

2. Congratulations to the United States: Republic of Congo
(RoC) President Denis Sassou-Nguesso was one of the first among
many African leaders to express his congratulations to Barack
Obama through a Radio France International transmission. In his
statement, Sassou-Nguesso commented that Obama's election is a
result of Martin Luther King's dream. Ministers of
Telecommunications, Foreign Affairs, Communication, and
Education attended an early morning breakfast to extol the
success of this year's U.S. election process and the American's
choice of Obama.

3. Unexpected Visitor: An unexpected visit to Brazzaville by
South African President Kgalema Motlanthe on October 31 gave
both President Motlanthe and Sassou-Nguesso the opportunity to
discuss the mounting crisis in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (DRC) and the recommendation that Africa be represented at
the G20. Sassou-Nguesso once again emphasized that he did not
suggest that he himself represent Africa, but that a
spokesperson be determined by the African finance ministers and
bank governors at the Tunis meeting scheduled for November 12,
2008.

4. Promoting Agriculture: The GRoC implemented a National Fund
for the Support of Agriculture to be supplied annually at the
rate of 10% of the national investment budget, approximately
US$44 million, to develop agricultural activities in the entire
country. The International Agricultural Development Fund
(FIDA), a United Nations funded agency, has provided US$40
million to implement two rural developments projects that will
include agriculture and breeding with an additional US$15
million promised for a third project. The World Bank is also
throwing US$20 million into the agriculture pot, with the GROC
expected to match that amount through the Poverty Reduction
Program.

5. World Food Program: The World Food Program (WFP) is
recommending closing its program in RoC due to the raising costs
of commodities and the increasing need in countries like Somalia
and Ethiopia. WFP has offered to leave their technicians to run
a program if the GRoC found donors to invest in the Protracted
Relief and Recovery Operation. The GRoC responded affirmatively
saying they would fund 60 percent of the program. The WFP is
waiting for the amount up-front.

6. Recent heavy rains have caused massive erosions to the
northern highway, flooding at lower levels of heavily populated
areas, and drainage and sewage backup. Four cases of cholera
have been reported in the Pool region south of Brazzaville. The
rainy season will end around the middle of December but the GRoC
has been slow to react to the mounting problems caused by the
heavy rains.

EASTHAM

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