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. counterparts in DRC in exploring opportunities that have the
potential to Unlock Trade, Tourism and Investment opportunities in DRC and the Great Lakes

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 business 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.
“I am delighted to see that what began as a discussion between the DRC President H.E
President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo and Kenyan President H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, to
strengthen the relations between our two countries through trade and investments, formally
kick off through this trade mission. This Mission has sparked interest amongst the business
community and the turnout here in Kinshasa is a clear indication that DRC is ready and open
to growing its economy through working with both the private and public sectors. As a country,
we hope to leverage on existing infrastructure including the trade corridors to create regional
supply chains in form of human expertise, raw material and processed and packaged goods.”
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.

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Kenya Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Trade,
Industrialization and Enterprise Development Hon. Betty Maina said, “As Kenya
Government, we 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.

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister of Foreign Trade Jean Lucien Bussa said,
“DRC is happy to work with Kenya and our local SMEs have an opportunity to create market
linkages with Kenyan businesses. The DRC imports well over 2 billion dollars’ worth of basic
commodities and this is a clear indication that investors from Kenya can tap into this space.
Other than minerals, we have a vibrant agricultural sector and is also heavily involved in
cosmetics and textiles and the service industry amongst others. This is an opportunity for local
entrepreneurs to match with other businesses like theirs in Kenya.”

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.
Equity Group Managing Director and CEO Dr. James Mwangi said, “Working together with
the Governments of DRC and Kenya, we have been able to successfully bring together over
253 investors, entrepreneurs and business representatives who are today gathered here to
witness a historic day where Kenyans and the Congolese people intentionally collaborate to
grow business and investment opportunities. Our commitment as a Group is to complement
efforts from the government by availing solutions that enable businesses to grow and invest
ranging from financing, saving and money remittance solutions through Equity Bank Kenya
and EquityBCDC. We have Kshs 500 billion available to support and facilitate private sector
and the business community to grow and expand their businesses in the region. Throughout
the Trade Mission period, we will have amongst us our team of experts from Equity who will
walk the business journey with the entrepreneurs and offer advisory services and solutions
that will accelerate business establishment and growth.”

Also speaking at the event, EquityBCDC Managing Director, Celestin Muntuabu said, “The
economic and social challenges faced in DRC create an opportunity for entrepreneurs to
innovate and respond through offering of products and services. This Trade Mission will play
a critical role in opening up opportunities for trade and showcasing DRC’s potential as the next
market frontier.”

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.

Kenyan Ambassador to the DRC, Amb. George Masafu, said, “We welcome all of you to the
DRC, a land of opportunities and growth. As the Kenyan Embassy, we encourage you to
explore DRC and identify opportunities for growth and investments. We are ready and open
to facilitating Kenyan businesses looking to venture into trade in DRC and also urge DRC
businesses to also explore opportunities in Kenya. To further support this integration, the
Embassy of the Republic of Kenya has already opened up diplomatic posts in Lubumbashi
and Goma and we are keen on extending advisory services and support on matters relating
to visa processing. We appreciate Equity Group and other partners for the work that has gone
into the planning and execution of the Trade Mission and we cannot wait to see what activities
have been planned for the entire 15-day period.”

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.