President Thabo Mbeki Arrives in the
Democratic Republic of Congo Ahead of State Visit 13
- 14 January 2004
President and Mrs Thabo Mbeki have arrived in the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ahead of the first
ever State Visit by a South African President. President
Mbeki is accompanied by Ministers Dr Nkosazana Dlamini
Zuma, Alec Erwin, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Sydney
Mufamadi, Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, Charles Nqakula,
Stella Sigcau, senior government officials and a private
South Africa has, together with the UN and the Office
of the Facilitator and former President of Botswana,
Sir Keitumile Masire, played a catalyst role that helped
the people of the DRC to reach an amicable resolution
of the political challenges that had plagued DRC for
Consequently, today the DRC boosts of an inclusive
government ready to assist the country take its rightful
place, as an equal and partner in the process of Africas
Renewal and efforts to turn the tide against poverty
and under-development in the continent.
The visit by President Mbeki and his delegation is
aimed at strengthening political and economic bilateral
relations between South Africa and the DRC. In this
context, President Mbeki and his DRC counterpart, President
Josef Kabila are expected to sign a Co-operation Agreement
laying a legal foundation for the establishment of the
Joint Bilateral Commission between the two countries.
The Joint Bilateral Commission (JBC) will create a
mechanism through which the two governments can regulate
political co-operation whilst simultaneously serving
as a platform for the two governments to identify and
implement joint co-operation projects in the following
Defence and security;
Economic development with special emphasis on trade
and the agricultural, mining and industrial sectors;
Development of transportation and communications, inside
and outside the borders of the two countries;
The exchange of relevant advisors, experts and professionals;
Socio-cultural co-operation in the areas of information,
youth, sport, public health and tourism.
Pursuant to this objective, the South African Ministerial
corps will hold bilateral discussions with their DRC
counterpart with a view to consolidating the mechanism
for bilateral co-operation.
It is hoped that the visit will also afford the two
governments an opportunity to assess the progress made
thus far in consolidating peace in the DRC since the
signing of an agreement between the main political parties
In this regard, President Mbeki and his delegation
are scheduled to hold further bilateral discussions
with the four DRC Vice Presidents.
During the visit, President Mbeki and his delegation
will also have an opportunity to inaugurate the new
South African Chancery and diplomatic village in Kinshasa.
The DRC also holds enormous economic potential for
the South African private sector generally and the mining
sector in particular. The state visit will thus help
create a political climate conducive for both the South
African and DRC private sectors to interact in a mutually
President Mbeki and his delegation is expected to return
to South Africa on Wednesday 14 January 2004.
Relations with South Africa
A South African Liaison Office was opened in Kinshasa
in July 1989. Following the establishment of diplomatic
relations between the two countries on 30 September
1992, the liaison office was upgraded to an Embassy.
Since the appointment of President Joseph Kabila, bilateral
relations between South Africa and the Democratic Republic
of the Congo have improved tremendously.
South Africas bilateral trade with the DRC:
Year: SA Exports: SA Imports:
1998 R 1 048 465 000 R 25 042 000
1999 R 807 365 000 R 18 128 000
2000 R 875 667 000 R 9 579 000
2001 R 940 274 000 R 20 669
2002 R 1 631 139 000 R 17 738
2003 (June) R 635 359 000 R 15 660
Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082 990 4853.
? Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
13 January 2004