Norway is strengthening its relations with the Democratic Republic of Congo and is now establishing an embassy in Kinshasa.
‘The establishment of a Norwegian embassy in Kinshasa will strengthen our bilateral relations with the Democratic Republic of Congo and facilitate a closer dialogue on the challenges facing the country and the Great Lakes region. Humanitarian aid and support for stabilisation and peacebuilding have been key priorities for Norway in the DR Congo for a number of years. Efforts to combat sexual violence have also been an important priority, and this work will continue,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.
Contact between DR Congo and Norway has increased in recent years. The peaceful transfer of power from Joseph Kaila to Felix Tshisekedi in January 2019 has opened up opportunities for a broader dialogue, and several meetings at political level have been held since then. Prime Minister Solberg met President Tshisekedi in the margins of the UN General Assembly in September 2019 and at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa in February 2020.
Minister of International Development Dag-Inge Ulstein had political talks in Kinshasa in May 2019. When visiting eastern Congo, Ulstein was able to see the work being done by many Norwegian NGOs and their local partners.
‘By establishing an embassy in Kinshasa, we can build on this important work and pave the way for more strategic cooperation with DR Congo. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of international cooperation and a coordinated approach to sustainable development. This applies particularly in countries such as DR Congo, which are being hit by several crises at the same time. We are now looking into how we can help to mitigate the economic and social impacts of the pandemic in DR Congo, with particular focus on protecting vulnerable groups and enhancing food security,’ Mr Ulstein said.
Mr Ulstein pointed out that human trafficking and modern slavery in the form of forced labour is a significant problem in DR Congo, particularly in relation to mining activities and protracted conflicts between various armed groups and the authorities.
Norway provides substantial earmarked support for UN stabilisation efforts in eastern Congo, both financially and through the deployment of Nordem experts. Norway contributes a total of about NOK 800-900 million annually for humanitarian, stabilisation and development efforts in DR Congo.
Climate and forest cooperation is an important component of Norway’s bilateral relations with DR Congo. DR Congo is home to the world’s second largest rainforest; protecting it is crucial for achieving both the Sustainable Development Goals and the aims of the Paris Agreement. Since 2016, Norway and DR Congo have cooperated closely under the Central African Forest Initiative (CAFI) to combat deforestation and advance sustainable development for the people of DR Congo. Norway will remain a long-term partner to DR Congo in this work.
Norway currently has an embassy office in Kinshasa, which reports to the embassy in Luanda. The office in Kinshasa will gradually be upgraded to a full-scale embassy during the second half of 2020, subject to change depending on how the Covid-19 pandemic develops.