DR Congo Joins East African Community

0
714
Congo Joins East Africa Community

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has today joined the East African Community becoming its 7th Partner State.

The Summit of EAC Heads of State at their 19th Ordinary Summit held on Tuesday, 29th March, 2022 admitted DRC following recommendation by the Council of Ministers.

The Chairperson of the Summit, H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, who is also Kenya’s President, informed the meeting that DRC had met all the set criteria for admission as provided for in the Treaty for the establishment of the EAC.

“We have concluded the regional processes for admitting new members as provided for in our rules of procedure,” said President Kenyatta.

“Admitting DRC into EAC is historic for our Community and the African continent at large. It demonstrates the agility of the Community to expand beyond its socio-cultural boundaries to new people and trade-centered partnerships and collaboration, thus increasing trade and investment opportunities for the citizens,” added the Chair.

Why does DR Congo want to join the EAC?

DR Congo applied for membership in 2019, hoping to improve trade and political ties with its East African neighbours.

It will allow Congolese citizens to travel freely to the other countries and trade will become much quicker, simpler and cheaper, which should benefit businesses and consumers in all countries.

The country shares borders with all EAC members except Kenya, and hopes to attract more investors from the region.

Joining the bloc gives DR Congo better access to facilities such as the Indian Ocean ports of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa.

Import taxes for goods accepted as being made in DR Congo will be removed or greatly reduced when entering the other countries, while transporting goods will become much cheaper.

“We have been waiting for this announcement for a long time. We are very happy,” Ley Molo Ley, a Congolese trader based near the Ugandan border, told the BBC.

It is currently not straightforward for Congolese business people to travel to Uganda, he said: “For a Congolese to get travel documents to visit Uganda, they need to pay $45 (£35) at the DR Congo side of the border. Then when they reach the Ugandan side, they need to pay $50 for a visa. Then there are charges for a Covid-19 test, so in total you pay about $120.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here