France and Democratic Republic of the Congo

Presentation

Political relations

France has been active for a number of years to ensure respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and enable a settlement to the crisis in the Great Lakes region. The bilateral relationship is supported by special ties based on Francophonie. France is responsible for proposing resolutions concerning the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the United Nations Security Council.

Visits

Presidential visits
  • On 16 and 17 July 2008 then 21 May 2014: official visits by President Kabila to France
  • 26 March 2009: visit by President Sarkozy (first French presidential visit to Kinshasa to since 1984).
  • 13 October 2012: President Hollande’s visit to DRC for the Francophonie Summit.
Ministerial visits (since 2015)
  • 24 February 2015: visit to Paris by Mr Raymond Tshibanda, Congolese Minister of Foreign Affairs;
  • November 2015: visit to Paris by Mr Maker Mwangu Famba, Congolese Minister of National Education;
  • January 2016, visit to Paris by Mr Alexis Thambwe, Congolese Minister of Justice, and Mr Isumbisho Mwapu, Congolese Minister of the Civil Service.

Trade

The bilateral trade balance is traditionally in favour of France, with gradually increasing flows (+100% between 2009 and 2014). French exports are concentrated in the sectors of mechanical equipment (30%), pharmaceuticals (28%), agricultural and agrifood products (24%). France’s imports (which represent about 1% of exports from the Democratic Republic of the Congo) also consist essentially of agricultural and agrifood products (77%).

Cooperation

French cooperation is extensive and varied. It is focused on the fields of education, environmental protection and biodiversity, and health. The debt-reduction and development contract signed in July 2013 provides for the allocation of €170 million in the sectors of education, vocational training, water sanitation and financial governance.

To promote its culture and language, France has four branches of the Institut Français in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Bukavu and Goma (since 2017). It also has a network of Alliances Françaises with the status of association in local law and two French lycées: René Descartes, accredited by the Agency for French Education Abroad, and Blaise Pascal in Lubumbashi.

Updated: 25 March 2019

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