Congo should fight corruption and ensure transparency
This was the clear message from the Belgian ministerial delegation during its meeting with President Kabila.24 April 2008
KINSHASA - Three key Belgian ministers have had a second meeting with President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo, but afterwards it was clear that there are still great differences of opinion between Brussels and Kinshasa.
The Belgian delegation told Kabila that he should tackle corruption and ensure transparency in efforts to rebuild the economy.
The meeting took place in the Congolese capital Kinshasa.
Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht, Defence Minister Pieter De Crem and International Development Minister Charles Michel are currently visiting Congo.
A first meeting on Monday only lasted a quarter of an hour.
After Tuesday's meeting, De Gucht criticised Congo's reluctance to accept a Special Human Rights Rapporteur.
Rejuvenating the port of Boma
Earlier in the day the Belgian delegation paid a visit to the Congolese port city of Boma.
Here the authorities of the Flemish port city of Antwerp are trying to revitalise the port area.
The initiative can count on financial support from the Belgian Government.
The VRT's special correspondent in Congo, Katrien Vanderschoot, identifies corruption as one of the main problems.
She says that the Congolese authorities are often more interested in profitable private business deals than in the development of the port. As a result, the port of Antwerp failed to land a deal in another Congolese port city, Matadi.
Nico Vertongen, the Belgian project manager of the Boma rejuvenation programme paints a different picture. He praises the quality and the expertise he encountered in Boma.
He told the VRT that a lot of good work had already been done and that there were plans for much more.
A lot, however, would depend on what influence Belgium can exert in this part of the world
[flandersenews.be / Expatica]