Interview: China-Africa expo offers great opportunities for DR Congo: minister-Xinhua

Interview: China-Africa expo offers great opportunities for DR Congo: minister

Source: Xinhua| 2023-06-30 18:50:15|Editor: huaxia

KINSHASA, June 30 (Xinhua) -- The third China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo creates great opportunities for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which deems China a "privileged" and "strategic" partner, Congolese External Trade Minister Jean-Lucien Bussa Tongba has said.

During an exclusive interview with Xinhua ahead of his departure for China, Bussa Tongba said the DRC attaches great importance to the event, which runs from June 29 to July 2 in Changsha, the capital of central China's Hunan Province.

"The expo is a huge opportunity for the DRC which is an important partner with China," said the minister, who heads the DRC delegation to the expo.

The event, he said, takes place shortly after the historic state visit by DRC President Felix Tshisekedi to China, during which the two heads of state decided to upgrade bilateral ties to comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

For Bussa Tongba, the expo is an important platform to present the DRC's increasing business opportunities as well as to improve the business environment for Chinese investors in the DRC.

China has been the DRC's largest trading partner and source of foreign investment for many years in a row. In 2022, two-way trade reached 21.898 billion U.S. dollars, a year-on-year increase of 51.7 percent, as China has given zero-tariff treatment to 97 percent of DRC's products while being exported to China under the preferential trade policy.

Bussa Tongba also pointed out that China could play a vital role in the diversification of the DRC's economy, which will serve the interests of all, including the Chinese investors.

"The DRC government prioritizes the diversification of its economy, which would also be a key message that I would share with Chinese investors. It corresponds to our internal need, the world market's need and certainly the need of the Chinese investors," he said.

Besides business talks, Bussa Tongba hoped that the event would be a platform for the exchange of experience with the Chinese counterparts.

"Apart from talking about businesses, we are also in China for the experience-sharing. China's experiences in economic development are so enormous that the DRC, which is a developing country, should learn from China," said the minister.

Bussa Tongba, who has taken a keen interest in China, said he is personally inspired by China's development path, regarding the partnership with China as vital to its development.

"China has, over the past four decades, shown us that it is possible to realize a great leap. The Chinese model inspired and reinspires the DRC. It inspires me personally as a member of the DRC government," he said. "The partnership with China could allow the DRC to realize its leap."

Recalling the first edition of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in 2018, Bussa Tongba said that the in-person attendance allows him to see and sense the dynamism behind Chinese development.

"China is a country constantly on the move. The DRC needs to understand the dynamism behind China's development. Being there psychically allows us to see and feel," he said.

The minister said that he also has high expectations for other trade events in China, including the 6th CIIE in November 2023, reaffirming that the DRC would seize each opportunity to share experiences with China.

"China is a very privileged partner for the DRC," the minister noted.

"I have the confidence to say that the Chinese model works. It is in all of our interests to step up our economic and commercial relations with China," he said.