Equipment worth $7 million plus donated to DR Congo

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The departure of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) engineer contingent from the UN’s MONUSCO mission has benefitted President Felix Tshisekedi’s Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government to the tune of $ 7 million plus in construction, earthmoving and medical equipment.

The donated equipment will, according to a MONUSCO statement, be used for peace building and social development.

A total of 46 767 items of construction and earthmoving equipment in the form of bulldozers, forklifts and dump trucks, among others, were received by representatives of the DRC government at what was the main Chinese contingent camp outside Bukavu in South Kivu. An ambulance, other vehicles and medical equipment from the Bukavu hospital managed by the Chinese all told saw 43 043 items handed to the Congolese.

The total value of the donations is given as $7 359 922.

Since the PLA, in the form of its engineers, arrived in South Kivu they worked on, at and been involved in close to 600 projects focussed on improving access and mobility. These include repairing 1 800 km of road – some more than once due to damage by, among others, IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and wash aways – as well as rehabilitating 80 bridges and building 20 helipads.

Bintou Keita, MONUSCO Head and Special Representative of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in the DRC, praised the generosity of the Chinese authorities for the initiative.

“Over the years we have witnessed the critical importance of infrastructure in maintaining and building peace and security. This transfer of assets demonstrates the commitment of the People’s Republic of China to supporting peace consolidation and development efforts in the DRC. I reiterate my gratefulness to the Chinese peacekeepers for their dedication and professionalism during the two decades of their deployment in South Kivu,” the statement has her saying at Bukavu.

China’s withdrawal comes as MONUSCO winds down operations over the course of this year, and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in the DRC (SAMIDRC) takes over peacekeeping duties.