James Arthur Photography

New warmth in ties between Brussels and Kinshasa

Belgian foreign minister Philippe Goffin (Francophone liberal) is visiting Congo in January.  The visit is the first since Didier Reynders was in Kinshasa in 2017.  Relations had reached a new low then, but have improved markedly under the new Congolese president Felix Tshisekedi. 

Mr Goffin will be in the DRC from 9 to 11 January.  Meetings are planned in Kinshasa, but also Lubumbashi.  Belgium hopes to reopen its consulate in the southern city after former President Kabila closed it in February 2018. Mr Kabila was unhappy with critical noises emanating from Brussels.

Belgium criticised the contested elections that brought Mr Tshisekedi to power, but soon opted for a pragmatic approach giving the new Congolese leader the benefit of the doubt. In recent months the rapprochement gained momentum.

Last September President Tshisekedi paid a state visit to Belgium.  Belgium’s new foreign minister hopes to strengthen ties even further ahead of celebrations in June marking the sixtieth anniversary of Congo’s independence from Belgium.