R Congo and Somalia will have to wait a little bit longer before admission in the East African Community (EAC) after the Head of Summit concluded that the process was not yet completed.
The Summit considered an application by the DR Congo to join the EAC and directed the Council of Ministers to expeditiously undertake a verification mission in accordance with the EAC procedure for admission of new members in the EAC and report in the next Summit meeting.
The Summit also noted that the verification exercise for the admission of the Federal Republic of Somalia into the EAC had not been undertaken and directed the council to follow up on the exercise.
Somalia has been pushing to join the bloc since 2013 when it presented its application to the EAC secretariat to join the existing six member states namely; Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan.
In July 2018, the country joined the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a free trade zone comprising 21 African nations, which was expected to serve as a huge boost in its quest to join EAC.
DR Congo submitted their official request to join EAC on 8th June 2019 through a letter addressed to the bloc’s most immediate leader Rwanda President Paul Kagame who handed over leadership mantle to President Uhuru Kenyatta. The mineral rich nation already shares strong trade ties with most East African countries like Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Tanzania.
By allowing the two countries into the East African bloc, the region will benefit from a large consumer market comprising over 235 million residents up from roughly 150 million people currently found in the EAC. Somalia’s long coastline along the Indian Ocean is also likely to contribute to the economic expansion of the East African region.
The summit also recalled its previous discussion on the EU-EAC economic partnership agreement and recognized that not all partner states are in a position to sign, ratify and implement the agreement.
The summit recognized the importance of some partner states to move forward. The summit concluded that the partner states who wish to do so should be able to commence engagement with the EU with a view to starting the EU-EAC-EPA implementation under the principle of variable geometry.
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