Working visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Democratic Republic of Congo on 9 and 10 April 2024

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has begun a two-day working visit today to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

  1. Last updated on

The Minister of Foreign Affairs has begun a two-day working visit today to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Minister's second visit to Kinshasa is part of a drive to strengthen the bilateral ties between Belgium and the DRC, and a project linked to the House of Representatives' resolution on the segregation suffered by mixed-race people born during the Belgian colonisation in Africa (known as the "Métis" Resolution). During her visit, the Minister of Foreign Affairs will have the opportunity to discuss the security and humanitarian situation in the east of the country and ongoing diplomatic efforts at the regional level.

The visit started with a working breakfast on the security situation in the country and the particularly humanitarian consequences for the population. The Minister then met with her counterpart, Christophe Lutundula, and the outgoing Prime Minister, Jean-Michel Sama Lukonde, to discuss bilateral and regional issues, as well as peace efforts and socio-economic challenges in the DRC. The afternoon will be devoted to a debate with journalism students from the University of Information and Communication Sciences (UNISIC). During this meeting, they will discuss the issue of 'fake news' and its impact on our democracies. In the evening, the minister will discover the richness of Congolese culture through rumba, which is listed as an intangible heritage by UNESCO and has spread in Europe thanks to the Congolese diaspora living in Belgium.

The second day will begin with a visit to the 'Prothea Congo - Ugani Prosthetics' project, a social enterprise that aims to make prostheses more affordable and accessible, particularly in low-income countries. As a subsidiary of the Belgian company Ugani, Prothea stands out for its innovative solution: 3D-printed prostheses. This project, supported by FINEXPO, illustrates the impact and relevance of this instrument, which aims to support the export of Belgian capital goods and related services.

At the end of the morning, the Minister will visit the Congolese Parliament, where she will be received in audience by the President of the National Assembly, Christophe Mboso, before holding talks with a group of newly elected women MPs. The meeting will highlight the importance of women's participation in political life and address the challenges of gender equality in Belgium and the DRC. The event will also provide an opportunity to take stock of a project, supported by Belgium, aimed at promoting women's participation in the electoral process in the DRC through coaching, advocacy and experience-sharing activities.

In the afternoon, a meeting is scheduled with the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative in the DRC and head of MONUSCO, Bintou Keita, to discuss MONUSCO's work and the implementation of the mission's disengagement plan, as well as the general situation in the east of the DRC. In the afternoon, the Minister will also meet the Prime Minister, Judith Suminwa, to congratulate her on her appointment as the first woman to head the next Congolese government. The visit will conclude with a meeting with the participants in the project resulting from the "Métis" Resolution. A delegation of 20 metis will take the same flight as the Minister on 10 April for a four-day visit in Belgium. In line with the objectives of the resolution, this project should enable the history of mixed-race people born during the colonisation to be recognised once again, their expectations to be heard and opportunities for the future to be considered together.

The DRC occupies a prominent place in Belgian foreign policy. Because of the common history they share, Belgium and the DRC enjoy a rich and close relationship, both between official Belgian and Congolese institutions and between the citizens of the two countries. This cooperation is evident in the economic, political, social, cultural and military spheres, among others. The DRC is also the main partner country for the Belgian development cooperation and one of the main recipients of humanitarian aid financed by Belgium.

We are happy with the large support for our candidacy during today’s vote, providing Belgium with a broad mandate from the UNGA, which is sign of confidence in our tradition of multilateral diplomacy pursuing consensus and peace.

  1. News Type
  1. Subjects