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Kinshasa gets a new business Poynt man

Washington consultant tapped to facilitate meeting of US and Congo-K business and political leaders in further sign of warming relations

Officials in Kinshasa have tasked United States businessman Aaron Poynton with organising a roundtable for US and Congolese business and political leaders in the coming weeks, as diplomatic ties between the two countries continue to thaw.

The agreement to co-ordinate the USA-DRC Business Roundtable in Washington DC has been brokered by Thierry Katembwe Mbala, who chairs a committee on the development of Kinshasa that includes 15 key ministers and the Prime Minister Judith Suminwa Tuluka.

The gathering, according to a filing under the US State Department’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), ‘is intended as a strategic platform to enhance the business and economic relationship’, says Mbala.

The FARA filing does not state Poynton’s fee.

Poynton is not a lobbyist: his firm Omnipoynt Solutions instead touts itself as a management consulting and professional services firm focusing on aerospace and defence, national security, and health and safety markets.

Relations between Washington and Kinshasa have warmed up in recent months, in part because the US has stepped up its pursuit of lithium and rare-earth elements that are used in electric vehicle batteries and which will be vital to the US’s green transport transition. Mbala states that President Félix Tshisekedi’s government ‘is eager to expand cooperation and to showcase the potential for economic development and investment’.

In late April, state mining company Gécamines signed a one-year contract worth $925,000 with Mercury, a K Street lobby shop in Washington DC, as part of its attempts to attract new US investment and develop political ties (AC Vol 65 No 10, Mining colossus Gécamines hires lobbyists to boost bargaining with Washington).

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