The Vice-Prime Minister of DRC who is also the Minister of Environment H.E Eve Bazaiba officially opened the Kenya – DRC Trade Mission 2021, a 15-day business networking initiative organized by the governments of Kenya and DRC in partnership with Equity Group.

The aim of the trade mission is to explore opportunities that have the potential to Unlock Trade, Tourism, and Investment opportunities in DRC and the Great Lakes Region

The trade mission, which brings together Kenyan and DRC investors and entrepreneurs, will be held in four of DRC’s biggest cities that is, Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Goma, and Mbuji Mayi. SMEs will have an opportunity to explore opportunities in DRC through business forums and panel discussions moderated by experts in various fields, site visits to various businesses and locations of interest, networking sessions, and trade exhibitions that will allow businesses to showcase their products and services.

Speaking during the official opening ceremony, the Vice-Prime Minister of DRC H.E Eve Bazaiba expressed delight in seeing two sovereign States from the East and Central Africa region championing the growth and integration of Africa through trade and investment.

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

Kenya Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Trade, Industrialization and Enterprise Development Hon. Betty Maina said that they are encouraging Kenyan SMEs to consider the DRC as a market for regional expansion. Kenya and the DRC already have existing trade relations and this Trade Mission will further enhance paring local Kenyan entrepreneurs to local DRC businesses. We urge our entrepreneurs to keep an open mind, to engage with us during the discussions, and most of all to explore opportunities for growth in agriculture, education, health, sports, environment, SMEs, housing, energy and infrastructure development.”

The Trade Mission follows bilateral agreements between Kenya and the DRC aimed at enhancing trade and the movement of people and goods that was signed by H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta and H.E President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo earlier in April 2021.

Equity Group has played a key role in the planning and execution of the Trade Mission and has availed its manpower and infrastructure to support entrepreneurs from both countries.

The opening ceremony brought together key policy makers and the private sector including DRC’s and Kenya’s top government officials, Equity Board of Directors, development partners and other partners such as various country heads for the Chambers of Commerce, business & professional associations an indication that public-private partnerships play a key role in promoting regional trade, integration and investments.

As part of efforts to make entry into DRC seamless, the 253 Kenyan delegates who landed on Monday on a chartered flight have been booked in various hotels within Kinshasa and were given exceptional visa issuing, airport clearance and COVID-19 testing so as to facilitate a warm stay within the DRC.

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

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