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MPs/Peers hear of latest developments in DRC, Ethiopia and Gabon

On 10 December, BGIPU hosted a African Ambassador Roundtable which was moderated by BGIPU Chair, Harriett Baldwin. The roundtable was an opportunity for Ambassadors to brief MPs and Peers of the situation in their country and an opportunity for the Members to ask questions. The briefings were given by HE Teferi Melesse Desta, Ambassador of Ethiopia; HE Marie Ndjeka, Ambassador of Democratic Republic of Congo; HE Aichatou Sanni Aoudou, Ambassador of Gabon. The meeting was a hugely worthwhile opportunity for UK Members to hear about the political, social and economic developments in each Ambassadors’ countries and to discuss how best to improve our bilateral relations moving forwards.

The first remarks were made by the Ambassador of Gabon who spoke about the efforts by the Gabonese government to diversify the economy and make it less dependent on oil. Gabon has been a forerunner in attempts made to protect their natural environment and the UK Members commemorated this move, particularly in the lead up to COP26. The Ambassador also spoke about the efforts made by the government in the fight against corruption and the successful initiatives currently being taken and the implementation of sanctions.

HE Marie Ndjeka subsequently took the floor to talk about the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo. One topic of the discussion was the potential to harness the natural resources to develop the economy. The Congo river is the second biggest in the world and has huge hydroelectric power potential. The Ambassador spoke about the need to start manufacturing raw materials in the DRC rather than simply exporting them in order to add value to the products.

The Ambassador of Ethiopia spoke last about the worrying situation in the Tigray region. The government of Ethiopia strongly condemn what is happening and are responding forcefully to the rebelling state. The UK Members questioned why the Prime Minister has refused offers of international mediation talk and hoped that diplomatic avenues were still being considered.

The meeting was very productive and a valuable opportunity for Members of the UK Parliament to engage with the Ambassadors. It is clear that these discussions advance the bilateral relationship and help to understand each other’s’ perspective. The British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union would like to extend their thanks to the Ambassadors for giving the informative briefings and hope that it will be possible to invite the Ambassadors into Westminster in 2021 to further enhance relations through similar events in person.

BGIPU Secretariat