Knapen to visit Congo and Rwanda

Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation Ben Knapen is to pay a working visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda from 13 to 17 February.

He will hold talks with the authorities, businesses, and national and international organisations on topics such as Dutch development efforts, economic development, peace and security, democracy and human rights, and regional problems.

In the DRC he will meet the foreign and planning ministers, and visit the Bralima/Heineken brewery. In Goma, the capital of North Kuvi province in the east of the country, he will visit a police station built with Dutch funds and a women’s centre set up by Justine Masika. Ms Masika was awarded the Human Rights Defenders Tulip in 2008 for her fight against sexual violence, which many women have suffered during the armed conflict in eastern Congo.

In Rwanda, talks are planned with the foreign, justice, agriculture and finance ministers. Mr Knapen will also visit two districts where the Netherlands supports local economic development. Other visits will include a local market, a school and a local bank. The bank works with a Dutch bank in providing financial services in rural areas.