Kenya: More than 2,000 Kenyan and Congolese entrepreneurs gather for a trade mission to the DRC

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Over 253 Kenyan investors, entrepreneurs and business representatives arrived in Kinshasa, DRC for the trade mission

The Deputy Prime Minister of the DRC officially launches the Kenya – DRC Trade Mission in Kinshasa

The trade takes place in four of the largest cities in the DRC, namely Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Goma and Mbuji Mayi.

A business networking initiative organized by the governments of Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in partnership with Equity Group has started in the DRC.

The Kenya – DRC Trade Mission 2021 is a 15-day event which was officially opened by the Deputy Prime Minister of DRC who is also Minister of Environment.

It was organized to explore opportunities that could unlock trade, tourism and investment opportunities in the DRC and the Great Lakes region

The trade mission, which brings together Kenyan and Congolese investors and entrepreneurs, will be held in four of the largest cities in the DRC, namely Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Goma and Mbuji Mayi.

SMEs will have the opportunity to explore opportunities in the DRC through business forums and round tables moderated by experts in various fields, site visits to various companies and places of interest, networking sessions and trade exhibitions that will allow companies to present their products and services.

Speaking at the official opening ceremony, Bazaiba said he was delighted to see two sovereign states from the East and Central Africa region championing Africa’s growth and integration through trade and the investment.

“I am delighted to see that what began as a discussion between the President of the DRC HE President Felix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo and the Kenyan President HE Uhuru Kenyatta, to strengthen the relationship between our two countries through trade and investment, officially kicks off through this trade mission,” she said.

“This mission has generated interest from the business community and the participation here in Kinshasa is a clear indication that the DRC is ready and open to growing its economy by working with the private and public sectors. As a country, we hope to leverage infrastructure, including trade corridors, to create regional supply chains in the form of human expertise, raw materials, and processed and packaged products,” she added.

The trade mission comes at a time when the DRC has received approval from the EAC Council of Ministers to join the trading bloc, a move that is expected to open the country and the region to fair competition and trade.

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Betty Maina, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Industrialization and Business Development, said the Kenyan government was encouraging Kenyan SMEs to view the DRC as a regional expansion market.

“Kenya and the DRC already have existing business relationships and this trade mission will further strengthen the matchmaking of local Kenyan entrepreneurs with local DRC businesses. We urge our entrepreneurs to keep an open mind, to engage with us during discussions and especially to explore opportunities for growth in agriculture, education, health, sports, environment, SMEs, housing, energy and infrastructure development,” she said. .

The trade mission follows bilateral agreements between Kenya and the DRC aimed at enhancing trade and movement of people and goods which were signed by HE President Uhuru Kenyatta and HE President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo earlier in April 2021.

Foreign Trade Minister Jean Lucien Bussa said: “The DRC is happy to work with Kenya and our local SMEs have the opportunity to create business links with Kenyan companies. The DRC imports more than 2 billion dollars of basic products and it is obvious. indicates that Kenyan investors can exploit this space. Apart from minerals, we have a vibrant agricultural sector and are also heavily involved in cosmetics, textiles and the service industry, among others. This is an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to partner with other businesses like theirs in Kenya.”

Equity Group played a key role in the planning and execution of the trade mission and leveraged its workforce and infrastructure to support entrepreneurs in both countries.

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Managing Director and CEO of Equity Group, Dr James Mwangi, said that by working with the governments of DRC and Kenya, the bank has managed to bring together more than 253 investors, entrepreneurs and business representatives.

“Our commitment as a group is to complement government efforts by providing solutions that enable businesses to grow and invest, ranging from finance, savings and money transfer solutions through Equity Bank Kenya and EquityBCDC.We have Ksh 500 billion available to support and facilitate sector and the business community to grow and expand their businesses in the region.Throughout the period of the trade mission, we will have with us our team of experts of Equity which will walk the business journey with entrepreneurs and provide consulting services and solutions that will accelerate business creation and growth.”

Also speaking at the event, EquityBCDC Managing Director Celestin Muntuabu said, “The economic and social challenges faced in the DRC create an opportunity for entrepreneurs to innovate and respond by offering products and services. This trade mission will play a vital role in opening trade opportunities and showcasing the potential of the DRC as the next market frontier”.

The opening ceremony brought together key policymakers and the private sector, including senior government officials from DRC and Kenya, the Equity Board, development partners and other partners such as various country leaders for chambers of commerce, business and professional associations, an indication that public-private partnerships play a key role in promoting regional trade, integration and investment.

Ambassador of Kenya to the DRC, Amb. George Masafu encouraged Kenyan investors to explore the DRC and identify opportunities for growth and investment.

“We are ready and open to facilitate Kenyan companies looking to venture into trade in the DRC and also urge DRC companies to also explore opportunities in Kenya. To further support this integration, the Embassy of the Republic of Kenya has already opened diplomatic posts in Lubumbashi and Goma and we are keen to expand the advisory and support services on matters relating to visa processing.We appreciate Equity Group and other partners for the work that has gone into planning and execution of the trade mission and we look forward to seeing what activities have been planned for the full 15 day period.”

As part of efforts to make entry into the DRC seamless, the 253 Kenyan delegates who landed on a chartered flight on Monday were booked into various hotels in Kinshasa and received exceptional visa issuance, airport clearance and a COVID-19 test to facilitate a warm stay on the ground floor.

The trade mission from Kinshasa lasted a total of 4 days, and the delegation is expected to travel to Lubumbashi, the third largest city in the DRC for another 4 days before heading to Goma and later to Mbuji Mayi. The mission is expected to expose local entrepreneurs to opportunities in the service industry, manufacturing, mining, agriculture, among other sectors.

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