Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have joined forces with Equity Group to organise and coordinate a 15-day Trade Mission to the DRC from November 29 to December 13, as part of ongoing efforts to enhance regional trade and encourage economic growth.
The Trade Mission, which is expected to attract over 200 Kenyan investors and business participants, as well as a similar number from the DRC and the general public, will include trade exhibitions, business forums, and site visits in four of the DRC’s largest cities: Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Goma, and Mbuji Mayi.
During the launch of the Trade Mission today at the Serena Hotel in Nairobi, Cabinet Secretary Betty Maina of the Ministry of Trade, Industrialisation and Enterprise Development stated that the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the world’s sixth largest export destination for Kenyan products, with agricultural and manufactured goods topping the list.
The Trade Mission, according to Dr. Maina, will boost service and product investment between the two countries.
‘It will enhance commerce and development, which will result into an economic gain for the area and Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole,’ said Maina.
Botuli Bosaw Geoffrey, Second Secretary at the DRC Embassy in Kenya, stated during the launch that the DRC has huge untapped potential due to its existing population of over 100 million potential customers, mineral riches, a fertile agricultural area, and potential for political rebirth.
‘By strengthening local SMEs and encouraging international investment in the country, we will awaken an economic behemoth and enhance trade and investment inflows and outflows.’ We are excited to host the Kenyan group and will assist and support them during their 15-day trade tour in our nation,’ Botuli added.
According to Equity Group Managing Director and CEO James Mwangi, the inaugural Trade Mission to the DRC would inspire Kenyan private sector businesses to enter the DRC by demonstrating the market’s untapped prospects.
Dr. Mwangi, on the other hand, praised the Kenyan and DRC governments for encouraging regional integration and collaboration.’
We have Sh500 billion ready to help and aid the private sector and business community in Kenya and the region in growing and expanding their firms.’ Equity has been operating in DRC since 2015 and has developed to become the country’s second largest bank. We have gathered enough knowledge in the six markets we operate in and the area to assist enterprises wishing to expand into the DRC and the greater East and Central Africa region,’ Dr. Mwangi added.
Equity Bank inked two guarantee facilities with Proparco last week, ARIZ and EURIZ, totaling Euro39 million (Sh5 billion), to help the Kenyan bank assist MSMEs further.
Agriculture, education, health, sports, and tourism are the primary economic areas addressed by the Trade Mission. Environment, SMEs, housing, energy, and infrastructure development are among the others.
Equity Group, through Equity Bank Kenya and Equity BCDC, its DRC banking subsidiary, will assist in the facilitation of the trade mission by mobilising SME entrepreneurs, championing networking and matching of local businesses to counterparts in both the DRC and Kenya and coordinating the trade mission.
The mission’s goal is to use the potential provided by regional cooperation frameworks such as the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), as well as to utilise trade corridors and develop regional supply chains.