The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) on Sept. 2-9 hosts a summit of the South African Development Community (SADC) in the capital Kinshasa.
Many heads of state of this organization have already confirmed their participation in the Kinshasa conference, according to Congolese officials in charge of regional cooperation.
The Kinshasa summit will discuss the prospects of regional integration of the SADC countries, the economic crisis in the region, the security situation and the reports on the development of commerce and industry.
The SADC leaders will exchange views on issues of finances, investments, the problems associated with the infrastructure and the regional strategies to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and other endemic diseases.
At the end of this summit, Congolese President Joseph Kabila, currently the vice-president of SADC, is going to take over the chairmanship of the bloc for a term of one year. He is to succeed South African President Jacob Zuma, the current chief of SADC.
It is the first time for the war-torn vast central African country to host a SADC summit since joining the organization in September 1997.
By giving the SADC chairmanship to DR Congo, the countries of this region want to give Kinshasa a role to play as an economic engine in central and southern Africa.
For the SADC leaders, considering both the human and natural resources, DR Congo is in a position to become the driving engine of the community. They estimate that the country has a vast market for the investors in the community.
ENERGY AND VISA
Many SADC countries suffer shortages of energy for their industries. It is because of this that they have shown interest in DR Congo which has enormous potential in the hydroelectric power supply.
SADC countries have also wanted to support the rehabilitation and modernization of the Inga site, a project integrated under the initiative of New Partnership for African Development.
On the part of DR Congo, it expects its SADC partners not to limit the aspirations to only energy commercialization. The Congolese want to benefit from their membership to SADC, notably by making the visa application easy or the eventual removal of the visa.
Currently, Kenyans, Angolans, South Africans, Zambians, Tanzanians, Botswanese, Mozambicans, Namibians and Zimbabweans no longer need to present themselves with their passports in the embassies of the SADC member states to get visas.
DR Congo, among others, would like to benefit from free movement of goods and people within the body of SADC.
It is therefore going to be a great opportunity that the Congolese are going to take in the regional economic integration in this vast region where they have not had same advantages as the other people within the SADC.
All have been made to believe that during the Kinshasa summit, the Congolese delegates and experts are without any hesitation going to pose a question on this idea of submitting the Congolese to visa conditionalities, whereas there is no boundaries within the SADC community.
Created in 1980 by nine countries, the SADC now has 15 member states, including Angola, South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Namibia, Mauritius, DR Congo, Madagascar, Seychelles and Zambia.