On the afternoon of Thursday the 21st of July 2011, the World Trade Center African Initiative took another large stride towards its goal of building relationships in the sub-Saharan region of the continent and thus increasing trade and prosperity for the people of Africa.
After intense preparation, the World Trade Center Cape Town team stood proudly along the red carpet to receive the Honourable Minister Jean-Marie Bulambo Kilosho, the Minister of Economic Development for the Democratic Republic of Congo. A delegation consisting of Miss Isabelle Maneno (Head of Minister’s Mission), Mr. Bavon Kakisingi (Judicial Councilor), Mr. Darius Sumuni (The Minister’s Parsec) and several others accompanied this prestigious governmental figure.
The occasion commenced in the WTC Cape Town boardroom with representatives from both parties sitting alongside the grand boardroom table. Mr. Theo Poggenpoel Vice President African Relations for World Trade Center Cape Town led proceedings, starting with greetings and introductions. Mrs. Vanessa du Plessis read a letter in French, to the Honourable Minister, from World Trade Center
Cape Town and African Initiative President, Mr. Julius Steyn. This welcomed the delegation and expressed Mr. Steyn’s sincere wishes to sit with the Minister in the very near future. Mrs. Julia Steyn, Mochron Investments CFO also welcomed the group in her husband’s absence, a gesture warmly received by the visiting party.
After all pleasantries were exchanged, the Minister took the opportunity to express his views on the World Trade Center African Initiative, the DRC and our future together. He extended a hand of friendship and cooperation towards the WTC and its initiative. The desire for World Trade Center African Initiative to engage in large-scale business opportunities within his country was expressed, including the sectors of natural resources consisting of copper, gold, uranium, zinc, cobalt and others.
The DRC is the single wealthiest country in the world with regards to natural resources with only the Amazon boasting a larger area of forestry. With the country’s natural assets valued at $24 trillion, a partnership is beyond beneficial it is essential.
The minister went on to communicate his view that WTC African Initiative are establishing trade zones on the continent for African countries to perform trade freely, an enterprise that is vital for the empowerment of Africa. He stated that like an army preparing for war, covering themselves in armour, we must equip ourselves for business together. A second meeting is required, he went on to say, to further discuss the next steps of business. He expressed his intentions to sit with the government of the DRC, the following day, to give them a full and positive report on his experience with the World Trade Center African Initiative team. His report will motivate the need to solidify their relationship with the WTC African Initiative through a fully functioning collaboration.
Mr. Sven Boermeester, head of GVPedia.com and Director of Media Africa at World Trade Center Cape Town, then showcased his ‘Best Of’ series and expressed his intention to have the DRC version completed shortly. This was enthusiastically received and the Honourable Minister advised Mr. Boormeester to make contact with the Department of Environmental Affairs in the DRC and to visit the country where he will be able to gather content far more effectively by experiencing it first hand. He encouraged the implementation of the publication to be finalized as soon as is possible.
Upon the conclusion of the meeting, the Honourable Minister stated that the formal invitation for a second meeting, in the DRC, would be extended before his delegation’s departure from South Africa. He expressly stated his anticipation to meet with Mr. Julius Steyn and that his written message had gone straight to his heart. He thanked the WTC staff for the warm reception and was most impressed with all arrangements.
A quick tour of the WTC Cape Town’s facilities completed the delegation’s visit, complete with a viewing of the architectural designs for Gaborone, personally introduced by its designer and President of World Trade Center Lusaka, Mr. Sergio Muchengwa. The Minister’s final words were a reiteration of his intent to back the coalition of the DRC government with the WTC African Initiative. This proved to be an amazingly successful visit and a testament to the hard working WTC Cape Town staff as well as the vision of its seniors.