DRC: On the occasion of the 64th anniversary of the independence Tshisekedi addressed the serious security challenges facing the country.

Kinshasa, June 30, 2024 – On the occasion of the 64th anniversary of the independence of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), President Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo delivered a speech marking this significant event. Addressing a united nation, the President celebrated the achievements of independence while highlighting the current challenges, particularly in terms of security and economic development.

President Tshisekedi began his speech by paying tribute to the Fathers of the independence of the DRC, who courageously fought against colonialism. “We celebrate the soul of our nation, its strength, and its resilience,” he stated, reminding everyone that this freedom was dearly won and represents an ambitious commitment to sustainable progress.

The year 2024 is marked by the installation of the Republic’s institutions resulting from the 4th electoral cycle, including for the first time the participation of the Congolese diaspora. The President expressed his satisfaction with this advancement towards the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law, fundamental values for ensuring a just and equitable society.

President Tshisekedi addressed the serious security challenges facing the country. He highlighted the ongoing aggression in regions such as Kanyabayonga, Kayini, South Lubero, Rutshuru, Nyirangongo, and Masisi, describing it as a blatant attack on national sovereignty and the peace of the people. As President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and the National Police, he assured the nation of his unwavering determination to defend the entire territory and restore peace. “Our valiant soldiers are on the front line, and together, we will overcome this unjustified aggression,” he said.

The President extended his profound solidarity and compassion to the residents of Kanyabayonga and surrounding areas, acknowledging their courage and resilience. He assured them that every effort is being made to restore security and protect all citizens. He also mentioned holding an expanded Superior Defense Council and issuing clear and firm instructions to safeguard the country’s territorial integrity.

Tshisekedi denounced the unfounded pretext of alleged abuses against Rwandophone communities in the DRC used by external hostile forces to justify their aggression. He reaffirmed the DRC’s legendary hospitality and respect for humanitarian principles, noting that the country has historically welcomed refugees from neighboring countries.

To enhance defense and security, the President instructed the new government to prioritize investments in these areas, allocating 20% of the annual budget over the next five years to strengthening the capabilities of the Defense and Security Forces. “Honor and courage to the valiant soldiers and fighters who loyally defend the nation at the risk of their lives. The nation will not forget you,” he declared.

The President called for harmony and cohesion among all communities to unite their efforts, promote peace, and respect mutual understanding to consolidate the country’s socio-economic transformation.

Despite ongoing security challenges, the economic outlook for 2024 remains generally favorable. Growth is expected to exceed the Sub-Saharan African average of 3.8%. Although inflation and the depreciation of the Congolese franc pose challenges, the outlook remains optimistic, driven by economic reforms and substantial investments in infrastructure, services, and the mining sector.

Tshisekedi highlighted the positive results of initiatives from his first term, including financial oversight, free primary education, universal health coverage, and local development programs. He emphasized the need to continue reforms to transition to a more diversified economy, focusing on agricultural transformation and infrastructure development.

The President announced the acceleration of the second phase of the “minerals for infrastructure” program, aiming to promote the domestic market and create jobs. This program will link the southern and northern parts of the country, improving the national transport network and communication quality. Additionally, he launched the construction of a bypass road around Kinshasa to enhance mobility in major cities.

President Tshisekedi acknowledged the social difficulties faced by many Congolese daily. He reassured the nation that he is committed to addressing these issues and instructed the government to take necessary measures to reduce the cost of living and improve purchasing power.

In conclusion, President Tshisekedi emphasized that true independence and freedom result from development, dedication, and a deep awareness of responsibilities. He called on all Congolese citizens to embrace national maturity and fully assume their duties to promote solidarity, justice, and hard work, aiming for a bright future and securing the DRC’s rightful place among influential nations of the world.

“Happy National Day to all. May God bless the Democratic Republic of the Congo, its people, and all those who have chosen it as their country of residence. Long live the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Thank you,” he concluded.