Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Felix Antoine Tshisekedi will Saturday November 9, 2019 preside over the 1st Uganda – DRC Business Forum, in what will be the highlight of his three-day state visit. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) president is expected in the country in time for the forum at Serena Hotel.
The Forum under the theme “Promoting Bilateral Trade, Investment and Connectivity for Mutual Peace and Prosperity” is being co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Development, in partnership with Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), Trademark East Africa and KTA Advocates.
The Joint Business Forum aims to provide a platform for the private sector of the two countries to share experiences, create business to business networks, identify opportunities and challenges and agree common solutions.
It will be a one day private-sector led event to discuss trade and investment opportunities between Uganda and DRC in order to facilitate trade between the two countries. Among the key bilateral issues that will be discussed include Promotion of cross border Trade, Customs co-operation, Elimination of non-tariff barriers, Harmonization of standards; cross border infrastructural development; energy including power generation, among others.
The DRC is one of the key export markets for Uganda’s exports. Total exports for 2018 stood at $531million, with formal trade standing at $221m while, informal trade currently stands at $312m.
Security and Ebola
Security and the Ebola outbreak are expected to be another key discussion point with host President Yoweri Museveni.
Last week, DR Congo’s army launched yet another “large-scale operations” against the many armed militias that have been causing violence in the country’s troubled east for nearly a quarter of a century.
The impoverished central African country has been wracked by conflict near its eastern border, with many of the militias having evolved from the two Congo wars (1996-1997 and 1998-2003).
“The DRC armed forces launched large-scale operations overnight Wednesday to eradicate all domestic and foreign armed groups that plague the east of the country and destabilise the Great Lakes region,” General Richard Kasonga, spokesman of the Congolese army, told AFP.
“The operation was launched from Nyaleke (Beni region), where artillery shelled rebel positions,” he said. “Ground troops have been engaged since this morning.”
The Beni region, in the North Kivu province which borders Uganda and Rwanda, has been particularly affected by militia violence.
An Islamist-rooted Ugandan armed group, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), has targeted Beni, killing hundreds of civilians over the last five years. The Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) are also active in the region.
The Congolese army shared a video with the media showing tanks firing shells and soldiers taking positions on a dirt road in a mostly deserted village. Scattered gunfire could be heard in the background.
Five Great Lakes countries — the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda — decided last week to combine their military operations in the region.
The UN’s peacekeeping mission in DR Congo has supported DRC troops in the region, but has ruled out backing any foreign intervention.