Kabila's Protege Pledges Tripling in Congo State Spending

(Bloomberg) -- The ruling coalition’s candidate in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential election pledged to almost triple government spending if he’s elected.

Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, 57, is vying to become leader of the world’s biggest cobalt producer in a vote scheduled for Dec. 23. The former interior minister was handpicked by President Joseph Kabila, who’s stepping aside after 17 years in power.

Shadary proposed “a budget evaluated for the next five years at more or less $86 billion” at his manifesto launch Monday in the capital, Kinshasa. Annual government spending approved by Congo’s cabinet for 2018 and 2019 is about $6 billion.

The extra money will be spent on restoring security, raising civil servants’ salaries, creating jobs and improving basic public services, Shadary said. He also promised to “optimize revenue collection from the exploitation of natural resources” to enable Congo to “substantially” increase spending on education and health.

In addition to its cobalt output, Congo is also Africa’s biggest copper and tin producer, and has deposits of gold, diamonds and tantalum, among other minerals. Companies including Glencore Plc, Randgold Resources Ltd. and China Molybdenum Co. operate in the country.