Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi is in Uganda for a three-day state visit.
He was received at State House Entebbe at 4.30pm by his host President Yoweri Museveni.
President Tshisekedi will tomorrow (Sunday) attend the first ever Uganda-DR Congo summit at Imperial Golf View Hotel in Entebbe.
The visit is on invitation of President Museveni.
While opening the summit on Saturday, Mr Museveni said it was important for nations to facilitate trade among themselves because it creates opportunities for citizens in terms of jobs, income and wealth.
According to Mr Museveni, trade figures show that Africa is importing a lot from China, India, Japan and other places.
“This means we are supporting the prosperity of these countries and jobs for their children yet ours remain unemployed. Uganda and DRC can for instance have a comparative advantage. If something is done better in Congo, we do it there and Uganda buys it, and vice versa. Then we get low-cost but high quality products. We need the market of the whole of Africa and avoid taxes at our borders. What we should concentrate on is the quality of goods and services. Internal markets alone are not sufficient to guarantee prosperity,” Mr Museveni said on Saturday.
The two countries have over the years had a frosty relationship but ever since Tshisekedi assumed office in January this year, he has been reaching out to his predecessor’s foes, Uganda inclusive and has already visited the country trice.
Tshisekedi is in company of 117 delegates from several ministries and businessmen.
“Uganda and DRC have concluded a number of cooperation frameworks. These include but are not limited to cooperation in: Health; peace and security; energy and mineral development; socio-economic infrastructure; trade and investment, among others,” a statement from Uganda’s Foreign Affairs ministry said.
The two countries are expected to discuss ways of increasing the volume of trade between them.
According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the volume of trade between Uganda and DR Congo—largely informal—was estimated to be $ 531 million by July this year.
“There is enormous room for growth & development if the two countries work together,” the statement added
Joint oil exploration is also expected to be on the cards as the two countries share the Albertine graben around Lake Albert which has oil deposits.
Uganda borders DR Congo to the west, a region troubled by militia groups Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an Islamist-rooted Ugandan armed group, and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR).