Press Release

30 October 2013

President Zuma returns from a State Visit to the DRC

His Excellency President Jacob Zuma has today, 30 October 2013, returned from a successful two-day State Visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The visit was of historical significance since it was the first State Visit by President Zuma to the DRC. The Visit also took place at a time when the DRC is experiencing relative stability as a result of the role of the Intervention Brigade which South Africa is part of. South Africa has played a crucial role in the realization of peace and stability in the DRC since 1997.

President Zuma held bilateral discussions with his counterpart, H.E President Joseph Kabila Kabange. The two Heads of State have noted with great appreciation the noticeable progress that has been achieved in strengthening the political and economic cooperation between the two countries. Critically important in this regard, is the increasing number of legal instruments that continue to be concluded to facilitate the partnership between South Africa and the DRC.

The two Presidents agreed to prioritise key areas of cooperation such as trade and investment, energy, infrastructure, agriculture, transport, science and technology, and security cooperation.

In their discussions, the two Heads of State paid particular attention to the peace and security situation in the DRC, particularly in the eastern part of the country. In this regard, the two Heads of State condemned in the strongest possible terms the destabilizing activities of the rebel movements, in particular the M23. The two Heads of State commended the DRC national army for protecting the territorial integrity of the country. Equally, the two Heads of State expressed their appreciation of the work of the United Nations Stabilization Force (MONUSCO), in particular the Intervention Brigade.

Consequently, the two Heads of State reaffirmed their commitment to work together to address the underlining security challenges facing the DRC.  In this regard, the two Presidents recalled the Memorandum of Understanding between South Africa, Angola and the DRC on the establishment of the Tripartite Mechanism on Dialogue and Cooperation which was signed on 23 August 2013. The main objective of the Mechanism is to support the consolidation of peace and stability in the DRC. The two Heads of State noted that the first Tripartite Ministerial Meeting took place on the sidelines of the State Visit.

A key outcome of this State Visit has been the signing of the Grand Inga Treaty. This treaty outlines the development of the Grand Inga Hydro Electric Power complex currently estimated at USD 100 billion.

The Grand Inga Project, based on the Congo River, has the potential to generate over 41,000 MW of clean energy, enough to supply the African continent and possibly, with the potential for export to south Western Europe. This Treaty therefore represents a practical commitment of the two countries to jointly partner to develop this gigantic Project.

“This agreement is significant since the Grand Inga Project has been in the pipe-line for a very long time. As South Africans, we are proud that we will be partnering with the people and the Government of the DRC in the development of this Project. The people of Congo deserve to celebrate this important milestone in their collective desire to develop and industrialize their country,” said President Zuma.

Whilst in Kinshasa, President Zuma addressed the National Assembly of the DRC. In his address, President Zuma commended H.E President Kabila Kabange for initiating the recently-concluded process of national consultations, in pursuit of the goal of fostering a greater sense of national unity and cohesion amongst the Congolese people.

The growing bilateral economic cooperation between South Africa and the DRC received added impetus through a two-day Business Forum on 29-30 October in Kinshasa. The Forum was aimed at devising appropriate mechanisms to expand economic cooperation and investments between the two countries.

Representatives of South African companies present at the Business Forum included, amongst others, Vodacom, Standard Bank, Shoprite, and Anglo Gold Ashanti.

During his address to the Business Forum, President Zuma commended South African companies that have already invested in the DRC in the mining, telecommunications, financial services, road infrastructure, construction, hospitality sectors, amongst others.

Total South African investment in the DRC between 2006 and 2012 was estimated at R12.5 billion (US$ 1.2 billion). Over 4000 jobs were created from the investment projects.

President Zuma stressed the importance of intra-African trade and stated that: “South Africa is looking to harness further opportunities by embarking on several projects that favour the promotion of value added products and services to the DRC and to give support to the DRC Government’s infrastructure and economic development initiatives”, said President Zuma.

“African growth rates will average 6% in 2014.  In comparison, growth in the developed world will average 3.6%. The DRC is estimated to grow at 8.2% in this year alone. Against this backdrop, any investor would be hard pressed to find higher rates of return elsewhere in the world. However intra-regional trade and sustained growth on the continent must be preceded by enabling technical and transport infrastructure,” said President Zuma.

President Zuma concluded that: “We are pleased with the outcomes of our deliberations. The outcomes of our discussions reaffirm our continued commitment and resolve to put our bilateral cooperation and partnership to higher levels.”

At the end of the visit, President Zuma expressed his gratitude to H.E President Kabila Kabange, the Government and the people of the DRC for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to the South African delegation.

President Zuma was accompanied by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane; the Minister of Defence, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula; the Minister of Police, Mr Nathi Mthethwa; the Minister of Energy, Mr Ben Martins; the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mr Lechesa Tsenoli; the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, and the Minister of Transport, Ms Dipuo Peters.

For further information, please contact Mr Clayson Monyela, Spokesperson for DIRCO, on 082 884 5974.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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