International relations / Africa news
The recently concluded 10th Binational Commission (BNC) between South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) helped to further strengthen ties between the two countries.
Presidents Joseph Kabila and Jacob Zuma agreed to work towards removing all obstacles blocking free trade and investment between the countries. The agreement comes after a decade of South African assistance in building the DRC’s diplomatic corps, helping to train its army and police and providing assistance to run its elections.
Both heads of state believe that trade between the countries should be developed. They have set their trade negotiators the task of looking at a speedy implementation of the Treaty on the Avoidance of Double Taxation.
The BNC was also the forum for the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Cross Border Road Transport Agency and the Office for the Management of Multimodal Freight.
The agreement makes it easier for freight to move between the two countries by, in some cases, lowering tariffs.
President Zuma says South Africa will continue offering assistance to the DRC.
President Kabila said the BNC would look into the biggest stumbling block to cooperation.
“What has been hindering a lot of progress, I believe, is the fact that there’s quite a lot of bureaucracy that we need to do away with.”
President Kabila also spoke about energy, an important sector for the DRC.
By harnessing the power of the Congo River, the Grand Inga project has the potential to power half the continent. Both presidents agreed that the project is important for economic development and continent-wide electrification.