The Democratic Republic of Congo, also known as the Congo Kinshasa, DRC and, previously, Zaire, is a country in central Africa known for its extremely rich natural resources. His Excellency Bene M’poko, DRC ambassador to South Africa, tells us more.
As DRC’s head of mission to South Africa for many years, what are your highlights – both personal and professional?
It has been a wonderful two decades. I first came to South Africa with the United Nations in 1995 and was appointed ambassador in 2001, so I have been here almost 26 years. South Africa has become my second home. In fact, it is almost my real home because I’ve lived in South Africa longer than any other country, even DRC. I am very comfortable here.
I came here during Madiba’s tenure and have worked well with all presidents since – Mbeki, Zuma and Ramaphosa. During my time as ambassador, DRC has established cordial relations with South Africa, not only with the government but also with the South African people. Many South Africans enjoy visiting DRC because we are a country of music, a
country of fun, and we also offer great investment opportunities. Many companies have established a presence in our country, including Vodacom, coltan producers, and Kibali, probably the biggest gold producer in Africa.
Aside from coltan, one of the most important minerals globally, we have a wealth of mineral resources that are key for the manufacture of current and future technologies.
Congo also has enormous potential in agriculture. We have 80 million hectares of arable land and lots of water – everything needed for successful agricultural ventures.
That said, our most important resource is our young people. Most of our population is young, educated, and eager to engage with business opportunities and entrepreneurship. Congo offers everything. The country is well-positioned in the heart of Africa, with a host of natural and human resources. It is a country of the future. Now, we are looking to strengthen our already excellent relationship with South Africa.
Read more of this intersting interview in our latest print edition