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Cablegate: Embassy Kinshasa Response to "Developing A

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 001671

SIPDIS

EB FOR CHARLES FORD, EB/CBA FOR DENNIS WINSTEAD, AF FOR ADA
ADLER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMGT AODE BEXP ECON EINV
SUBJECT: EMBASSY KINSHASA RESPONSE TO "DEVELOPING A
COMMERCIAL PLATFORM AT NON-FCS POSTS"

REF: STATE 174107

1. Summary. Embassy Kinshasa appreciates the opportunity to
respond to reftel requesting comments and suggestions on
developing a commercial platform at non-FCS posts. The
Democratic Republic of Congo is currently emerging from a
decade of economic distress, and commercial activity is
slowly restarting. Hence, Embassy Kinshasa is in a unique
position to implement changes in collaboration with FCS.
Post's current situation is characterized by ad hoc contact
with its regional FCS representative to respond to
trade/business inquiries and FCS requests. Planning will be
important due to the renascent nature of the commercial
portfolio at Post. Embassy Kinshasa does not currently have a
well coordinated business facilitation program beyond BuyUSA,
Gold Key, and case-by-case replies to trade and investment
inquiries. End Summary.

ASSESSMENT OF CURRENT SITUATION

2. The commercial portfolio at Embassy Kinshasa is currently
shared between two FSOs and one FSN. The FSN has primary
responsibility for daily maintenance of the portfolio and
contact with FCS-Nairobi. At present, the primary services
requested from Embassy Kinshasa are supplier or distributor
searches, operational business information for the DRC,
business advocacy (e.g. intervening in investment disputes or
conflicts with elements of the GDRC), supporting the
infrequent trade delegations (usually led by the Corporate
Council on Africa), and occassionally, formal DoC programs
such as BuyUSA and Gold Key. Embassy has previously used BFIF
funds to actualize BuyUSA informational programs and other
trade related activities. Post is also currently beginning to
work closely with OPIC to obtain GDRC agreement for several
political risk insurance applications. Embassy Kinshasa hopes
that regularization of work with the GDRC on investment
related issues such as OPIC will help to facilitate further
investment dialogue and re-acclamate the GDRC to Western
business practices.

3. Resource allocation is currently not a serious issue at
Post due to the limited activities of the commercial
portfolio. However, Embassy Kinshasa is concerned that those
funds which are available are not adequately used due to lack
of information. Post FSN commented that an account dedicated
to commercial activities for Embassy Kinshasa exists at
FCS-Nairobi, however, Post's access to information about this
account is limited. These funds could be used for trade
promotion or business education activities in the DRC.

4. Training opportunities for FSOs and FSNs conducted at the
regional level would be of interest. The economic section of
Embassy Kinshasa has a section chief and two first-tour
officers as direct-hire Americans. The section chief and one
first-tour officer manage the commercial portfolio with one
of three FSNs. Educational opportunities regarding the
functioning of the FCS and/or DoC programs would be of great
utility. Access to and training for DoC databases and
intranet would aid in research and program development.

5. Increased cross-agency consultation is important to
Embassy Kinshasa. A reliable link to DoC databases and
FCS-Nairobi would assist in quickly and reliably responding
to commercial inquiries. Embassy Kinshasa does not have
access to either the "Business Facilitation Instant Messaging
System" or DoC databases. Access to either of those channels
and/or the creation of a Francophone interlocutor at
FCS-Nairobi would be of great assistance.

DEVELOPMENT OF NEW PLANNING PROCESSES

6. Embassy Kinshasa currently has comments on operational
level planning. Of key importance to Post is the availability
of an FCS interlocutor who is fluent in French and
understands Francophone business practices. Post's commercial
FSN commented that when FCS-Abidjan was responsible for
Kinshasa, collaboration was significantly easier because of
the absence of linguistic challenges and due to the better
understanding of the Francophone Africa business environment.
Either the addition of a Francophone interlocutor at
FCS-Nairobi or a relocation of Kinshasa in regional
responsibilities would be helpful.

7. Regional planning and objectives: Post would be interested
in an annual regional forum for commercial program planning
that would include members of economic sections at non-FCS
posts. This would facilitate communication and help reorient
Posts' commercial programs to overarching policy goals.

BUSINESS FACILITATION PROGRAMS

8. Post is currently analysing the development of a
commercial platform to adapt to the changing economic
environment in the DRC. The economic section is currently
testing the development of monthly sector reporting and of an
electronic business database to facilitate responses to trade
inquiries. Occasional instructions or training from FCS
sector and program specialist would aid in providing improved
market research and service delivery. This will help Post
reach beyond case-by-case reporting and occassional program
activities.

MEECE

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