Nation Media Group closed its trade show in the Democratic Republic of Congo conference on Friday.
The Nation Media Group-organised East African Business and Trade Fair was a success and almost all the participants welcomed this first experience of the media group in the French-speaking country, a new member of the East African community.
The meeting opened at the capital Kinshasa’s Sultani Hotel on Thursday March 30, with the participation of Congolese government spokesman Patrick Muyaya, who said he was "very happy" with Nation Media Group (NMG)'s initiative to connect the countries of the region and introduce the DRC to East Africa, with the aim of increasing trade.
Delegates from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan were in the Congo, which is a market with great business and economic potential, with its 100 million consumers, 80 million hectares of arable land, and nine months of rainfall annually.
These advantages were presented by Mr Muyaya, who also spoke of the DRC's natural resources, notably cobalt, of which the DRC is the world's leading producer, copper, lithium and the minerals tungsten, tantalum and cassiterite.
"I am happy with the objective of connecting the populations, but also to give citizens the means to be able to trade and invest freely in the region even if they have gone beyond the stage of the customs union, now called the common market, there is the possibility of catching up. For us, it is important that the issue of security is resolved because this will allow us to have much more peace of mind," said Mr Muyaya.
The Congolese government spokesman then urged countries in the region to enhance trade and investment in the DRC.
"This country is also yours. You are welcome here," he told the delegates and representatives of various countries.
The conference was held under the theme "Searching for new markets and partnership". Several sessions were organised on specific themes, such as exploring intra-African trade, and sharing experiences of private sector companies in the DRC.
Several companies made presentations on the advantages of networking and partnership.
The DRC is in the midst of a war, but almost all participants were optimistic about the country's future. Kenyan ambassador to the DRC George Masafu, and NMG Chairman Wilfred Kiboro called on nations to work together and believe in the future.
"We must no longer focus on the past. Let us look to our common future," said Dr Masafu.
Dr Kiboro chose to speak "as an old man to the youth, urging them to be confident in the future".
Referring to security matters, Mr Muyaya called on the region’s states to define common strategies to overcome insecurity to realise shared prosperity in a region that has nearly 500 million consumers.
"Even the United States of America does not fight terrorism alone. We have the ADF who are Ugandans, we have the FDLR who are Rwandans, we have the Red Tabara who are Burundians. We cannot solve security problems like this without working closely with the countries they come from," he said.