The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) had to diversify its economy as copper prices fell, Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo said this week. Copper futures for delivery in three months had dropped 11 percent this year to $6 541.25 (R70 600) a ton by 11am in London yesterday, as signs of slowing economic growth fuel concern of reduced demand in China. “This situation is worrying and the government must react by considering supportive measures,” Matata said after a meeting with his ministers of economy, finance and mines in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, on Monday. The DRC produced 943 000 tons of copper last year and exported 869 000 tons, according to the Federation des Entreprises du Congo, the nation’s main business group. Mining revenue, which comes mainly from copper and cobalt, made up 14.5 percent of the budget last year, Matata said. “Our economy remains extremely dependent on natural resources, which weakens it,” he said. “Diversification is necessary, notably by exploiting agro-industrial parks.” – Bloomberg