Hungary will finance the shipment of 10,000 tons of grain to Africa worth some $3.5 million from Ukraine as part of efforts to solve the global food crisis, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó announced on Monday, after receiving his Congolese counterpart in Budapest.
According to a statement by the Foreign Ministry, the Hungarian minister stressed at a joint press conference with Christophe Lutundula Apala Pen’Apala that although there is a significant geographical distance between the two countries, global security threats affect both sides.
He cited the negative effects of the war in Ukraine, including the food crisis, which is hitting Africa hardest, adding that
Both countries have an interest in peace and an early end to the armed conflicts that are gripping the world, and we urge the necessary dialogue, ceasefires, and peace negotiations to achieve this.”
Szijjártó also described the electric car and battery industry as an important link between Hungary and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He pointed out that Hungary has the third largest electric battery production capacity in the world and will soon become the world leader thanks to ongoing investments. He explained that one of the most important raw materials for this is cobalt, and that more than 70 percent of the cobalt used by the sector comes from Congo.
The success of the world’s future electric car industry depends to a large extent on the unhindered and uninterrupted extraction and supply of cobalt to the global market,”
the minister emphasized. Several Hungarian companies are making a significant contribution to this, he said, with domestic construction and engineering firms leading a $600 million infrastructure development program to link Congo with Zambia and Tanzanian ports.
Szijjártó underscored that as a result of this major road and bridge construction program, Congolese raw materials will be able to reach the world’s market gateway ports in less than ten days instead of more than a month. Preparations are already underway, part of the planning is complete, and the concession rights have been contracted to Hungarian companies, he added.
The minister also pointed out that Hungary feels a strong responsibility towards Christian communities around the world, and that the fifth largest amount of aid under the Hungary Helps program has so far been given to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He said that from 2023 onwards, ten scholarship students from the African country will be able to come to Hungary every year.
Finally, he said that the Congolese Foreign Minister had never before made an official visit to Hungary, which underlines the importance of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries this year.
Featured photo via MTI/Kovács Attila