Relations Between Nigeria And D . R Congo
Formal Diplomatic relations between Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo was established in 1962 with the opening of Diplomatic Mission's in each country's respective capital. Ever since then some progress has been made between the two countries in their political and economic relations.
Political and Economic Relations
Politically, both countries have continued to cooperate on various issues affecting the African Continent, first under the auspices of the O.A.U in the 1960's and now under the AU. In the 1960's when political challenges erupted in the DRC, Nigeria contributed immensely to the UN Contingent and presently there are Nigerian Army and Police Officers serving in MONUSCO in the Eastern part of the country.
Economic Relations between Nigeria and the DR-Congo, on the other hand, dates back before Independence through informal trade on Inter-Personal level. However, after the attainment of Independence, the leadership in both countries felt the need to formalize these trading links. After series of negotiations, the first Bilateral Trade Agreement was signed in 1969.
Unfortunately, not much had been achieved through this agreement; in fact just two years after the signing of the Agreement, in an apparent nationalistic move, the Congolese Government nationalized all business owned by West Africans amongst whom, Nigerians were the most prominent. Economic relations between the two countries went into an all time low during the period and there was hardly any exchange in any form thereafter. However, in 1980, the Air Services Agreement that had been negotiated in the 1970s was revived thereby paving the way for the aircraft of both countries to start scheduled flights to and from each other's territorial air space. The Bilateral Air Services Agreement was signed in Kinshasa on March 26, 1975, while the Bilateral Trade Agreement was signed on July 18, 1969.
In February 11, 1987, Nigeria and the DR-Congo signed another Agreement on Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation. The main areas of cooperation in the Agreement were:
- Setting up and running Joint Industrial, Commercial and Technical Enterprises;
- Exchange of Advisers, Experts and Professionals including Teachers;
- Award of Scholarships, Organisation of Study;
- Exchange of Economic, Scientific and Technical Information;
- Any other form of cooperation that may be agreed upon by both contracting parties.
However, the Joint Economic Commission is yet to become operational.
In other areas, there have been attempts to improve relations as well. For example, in the Energy Sector, the DR-Congo Minister of Energy and Water Resources is currently negotiating with his Nigerian Counterpart on the development of the Great Inga Dam Project to generate substantial Mega Watt of Electricity that would solve the energy deficit of the two countries and other interested African states. The Energy, if generated is proposed to be transferred through a High Tension Line to be constructed from Inga to Calabar in Nigeria.
State Of Nigeria/Dr-Congo Bilateral Relations
The two Bilateral Agreements still in force between Nigeria and DR-Congo are the Bilateral Air Services Agreement signed in Kinshasa on March 26, 1975 and the Economic Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement signed in Lagos in February, 1987. Under this Agreement a Joint Commission was set up in 1988 but the Joint Commission is yet to materialize. The Bilateral Trade Agreement on the other hand signed in Kinshasa on July 18, 1969 between the two countries expired long ago.
Despite all these, both countries hope that there would be exchange of visits soon at top Government level to explore the vast offshore resources for the development of both countries.
Moreover, it is also worthy to note that abundant potentials for meaningful collaborations between the two countries exist and we hope that the Joint Commission umbrella would be fully utilized to foster the goal of closer Bilateral Economic and Commercial ties.