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Minister for Africa visits Democratic Republic of the Congo

Tobias Ellwood urges progress towards holding timely elections.

Minister for the Middle East and Africa, Tobias Ellwood, visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on 8-10 August 2016. This was his first visit to the country during which he took the opportunity to reiterate the UK’s commitment to the DRC and its people.

In a series of meetings, including with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice, Mr Ellwood pressed the DRC government to make more progress towards holding timely elections. The Minister also met with opposition figures, and emphasised the importance of elections to the DRC’s continuing development.

The Minister presented the British Congolese Business Group to the DRC government and learnt first-hand about the opportunities for investment in DRC and some of the current constraints on doing business. He also spoke with staff from the UN’s Stabilization Mission in the DRC in order to discuss the support the UK is providing to the DRC.

Speaking at the end of the two-day visit Mr Ellwood said:

I am delighted to have visited the Democratic Republic of the Congo so soon after my appointment as Minister for Africa. The UK Government is committed to our relationship with the DRC, and committed to working for a brighter future for its people. Our half-a-billion dollar annual assistance package is an expression of that support. I want to strengthen our friendship further in order to enhance security, boost development, and grow commerce.

As part of that commitment and friendship the UK is ready to support the election process, but the primary responsibility for elections rests with the DRC government. Timely elections, peaceful transfers of power and accountable, democratic institutions will offer certainty and opportunity to both the Congolese people and to international businesses. The world is ready to invest in the DRC, in its people and its economy; it is up to the government to create the right environment to make that happen.

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