President Tshisekedi’s most important objective as Congo’s new leader is the country’s economic recovery. Tshisekedi has been on a tour around the international community since he assumed office, with the aim of restoring investor confidence in the war-torn Central African country.
During a recent visit to the United States, Tshisekedi met with the Executive Chairman of Barrick Gold Corporation, John Thornton, during which an agreement was reached to develop the DRC’s gold mining industry. In a joint venture with AngloGold Ashanti of South Africa, the Canadian mining firm has an extensive exploration programme designed to develop world-class gold ore bodies in the DRC.
DRC is potentially the wealthiest country on earth in terms of natural resources, but still remains one of the poorest, President Tshisekedi in a speech to U.S. Chamber of Commerce noted, before meeting with the Barrick executive.
Albeit, concerns remain for extractive firms over the new mining code enacted by the previous regime. The code raises mineral royalties, increases taxes and nullifies a clause that shields miners against fiscal changes for 10 years.
Trade ties with the EAC
Within the first three months of his presidency, President Tshisekedi has already visited Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda as he moves to secure trade ties with the East African region.
At the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, the leader pledged a new era of bilateral co-operation between his country and regional neighbours to create new business opportunities that will transform the lives of all Africans.
Consequently, Rwanda’s national carrier RwandAir has now announced plans to include Kinshasa (DRC’s capital) on its list of African destinations. Starting on April 17, the carrier will operate three weekly direct flights from its Kigali hub to N’Djili International Airport, DRC’s largest airport.
“This new route will support our growth and increase our footprint in Africa. We also believe the addition of Kinshasa will boost business and strengthen commercial ties between the two countries,” RwandAir chief executive officer, Yvonne Makolo said.
The move presents a fresh opportunity for Rwanda to mend relations with DRC, improving bilateral and trade relations between both countries.
Impaired by a political crisis, corruption and volatile government legislation along with ramshackle infrastructure facilities, DRC faces a real struggle in resuscitating its economy.
Nonetheless, there are positive signs so far from the new administration as the president looks to implement reforms to spur development with the help of the international community.