DR Congo President Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi met Rwandese Minister of Trade and Industry, Soraya Hakuziyaremye, and Rwanda’s envoy in Kinshasa, Vincent Karega, on Tuesday, January 19, to discuss ways in which the neighbouring countries can increase their economic and trade ties.
Hakuziyaremye was in Kinshasa on Tuesday, along with Foreign Affairs Minister Vincent Biruta who delivered a message by President Paul Kagame to his DR Congo counterpart.
The discussions were in line with the vision shared by President Kagame that Intra-African trade must be pursued in view of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) start of trading launched this month.
“In particular, exploring all opportunities for joint investment projects between Rwanda and DRC and strengthening trade of goods and services between the two countries,” Hakuziyaremye said.
She explained that the Rwanda and DR Congo Ministers are “tasked with rapidly rolling out joint projects in key sectors including agro-processing, infrastructure, mining and ICT.”
Trade between Rwanda and DR Congo “has grown at a double-digit rate annually since 2012,” Hakuziyaremye said. When RwandAir launched direct flights to Kinshasa about two years ago, new export business opportunities were churned.
By and large, DR Congo is a strategic trading partner with Rwanda. Among others, the former remains the main destination for Rwanda’s informal exports.
Looking at the value of EAC partner states exports to DR Congo in 2018, according to the EABC-GIZ report, Rwanda comes first with $337.4 million, followed by Uganda with $204.3 million, Kenya $149.8 million, Tanzania $144.9 million and Burundi at $18.9 million.
President Tshisekedi on June 8, 2019 wrote to the EAC Chairman, Kagame, expressing his country’s wish to be a member of the regional bloc currently comprising Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and Tanzania.