Shepparton to Host first congo-australia Summit

The Centre for Optimism

The first Congo-Australia Summit on business and development opportunities, cultural and health development and youth initiatives will commence in Shepparton on Friday 26 March.

Democratic Republic of Congo Member of Parliament Hon Dr Luc Mulimbalimba and Leader of youth leadership organisation Future Voices Rashidi Sumaili will lead the DRC(Congo)-Australia Summit.

It will be moderated by the Centre for Optimism’s COO Victor Perton, a former Trade Commissioner for Victoria in North and South America and the Senior Engagement Adviser in the Australian G20 presidency supporting Australian leadership of the G20 Finance Ministers & Central Bank Governors & in the Brisbane G20 Leaders’ Summit. Victor worked with a World Bank mission to the neighbouring central African country Rwanda.

Impressive speakers include the Mayor of Shepparton Kim O’Keefe.

So too Adelaide-based Jenny Weaver, Chair of the Birthing Kits Foundation, will speak. Over 200,000 birthing kits have been delivered in the Congo to safeguard mothers and children in poor communities where birth is given in the home or village facility. Jenny has spent time in the Congo understanding the health and economic needs of that community.

The DRC is the second-largest country in Africa and, like Australia, endowed with immense mineral and agricultural wealth and an optimistic and ambitious people. Recognising opportunity, Australian business-leader Andrew Forrest recently signed a deal to invest in hydropower in the DRC.

The Summit will include:

· A Roundtable at Latrobe University Shepparton on 26 March.

· Zoom Meetings over coming months, including government-leaders, business-people, diplomats and students.

· Social Media Q&A.

“Hosting the first session of the Summit in Shepparton is a symbol of the invigoration of regional Australia and optimism for growth in business, manufacturing and innovation,” said Mr. Perton. “It also acknowledges Shepparton’s multicultural community, including many refugees and migrants from Africa and their thriving Australian-born families.”

The Summit hopes to:

· Identify the opportunities for potential partnerships between Australia and the DRC and facilitate engagement by interested and passionate people.

· Foster the relationship on infrastructure partnerships, sustainable agriculture, food industries, tourism & hospitality, social and cultural connections, strengthening institutions, water management, cultural awareness exchanges, medical and social research, new technologies, governance, business exchanges and networking.

· Engage regional young people in both countries in relationship-building, especially in diplomacy, business, education and health promotion.

· Encourage investment, promotion and strengthening of opportunities between the two countries.

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