In April 2003, when the Sun City agreements were signed in South Africa under the eyes of Thabo Mbeki, Dan Gertler was proud. Very proud, even. Secretly, he has just participated in the elaboration of the peace process between the government and the Congolese rebel groups. He has passé hours one-on-one with Paul Kagame, exchanged for days with Joseph Kabila, used his influence with the administration of the American George W. Bush. So, of course, the Israeli, a second-hand diplomat but a businessman above all, rubs his hands.
Exclusive – Dan Gertler (1/4): “Everyone was scared of the Congo, but not me”
The entrepreneur, barely thirty years old, is known only to a handful of people at the top of the Congolese state. But he has just won a first major bet. In 2001, he gave up on challenging Joseph Kabila’s suspension of the diamond monopoly that Laurent-Désiré Kabila had granted him in 1999. He then accepted the role of emissary of the new Congolese president to Washington, who will lead Joseph Kabila to Sun City. With two throws of the dice, he has therefore laid the foundations for a relationship that goes beyond the framework of a simple friendship. “The Sun City agreements have made us more than brothers,” summarizes Dan Gertler, comfortably installed in the Tel Aviv living room where he receives Young Africa.
An ally named Katumba
The period after 2002 was above all an opportunity for the entrepreneur to extend his activities to Congo for the first time. An expansion made possible by the proximity he now maintains with another key figure in the state: Augustin Katumba His wife.