DRC President Tshisekedi in South Africa amid political tensions at home

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Felix Tshisekedi
Felix Tshisekedi
  • DRC President Felix Tshisekedi is set to meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday in Pretoria.
  • South Africa will hand over the chair of the African Union to the Democratic Republic of the Congo early in the new year.
  • Regional dynamics as well as trade and investment are all on the agenda for the meeting. 

President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Felix Tshisekedi is set to pay a working visit to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday.

The visit comes amid high political tension in his own country as he moved to break off the governing coalition with his predecessor, Joseph Kabila, by ousting the majority party loyal to him from parliament.

According to a statement by Ramaphosa’s office, the two Presidents will use the one-day visit to, “... exchange views in respect of developments at a regional level, as well as discuss broad issues affecting the continent within the context of the African Union”.

South Africa will be handing the African Union (AU) chair to the DRC at the continental body’s summit early in the new year.

Tshisekedi has reportedly already appointed a high-level panel to advise him on this, and continental concerns about conflicts – in Libya, the Sahel, Mali, Ethiopia, and Mozambique – will likely include the instability in the eastern part of his own country.

“The visit will be an opportunity to reflect on ways to advance the African Union’s visionary and developmental Agenda 2063 and to enhance the two countries’ strategic cooperation,” the statement says.

Tshisekedi will be accompanied to the meeting by senior members of his government while International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, and State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo are expected to accompany Ramaphosa.

READ | DRC legislators trash Parliament as political crisis deepens

Discussions on the 12th session of the South Africa-DRC Bi-National Commission, which includes the two Presidents, which has a strong focus on post-conflict reconstruction and development, are also on the agenda.

There will also be discussions on trade – South Africa’s exports to the DRC in 2019 were valued at R15,2 billion – and investment. South Africa’s investments in that country include financial services, mining, construction and property development, retail, supplier services to the oil, gas and mobile telephony industries, ICT, security and guarding, logistics, and tourism and hospitality.

Agriculture and agro-processing is a growing area of investment, according to the presidency statement.

South Africa was among a number of countries visited by Tshisekedi soon after he was elected president last year. He also attended Ramaphosa's inauguration. 

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