ast Africa Community (EAC) is fast-tracking the entry of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to tap business opportunities for the rest of the Partner States.
Dr. Peter Mathuki the EAC Secretary General said that a committee has been made up to consider DRC application for EAC membership.
DRC and Somalia expected to be admitted in March this year but the Head of States Summit concluded the process was not yet completed.
With a population of close to 90 million and a vast area, DRC will become the biggest member state. It borders five East Africa countries- South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda and uses both the Central and Northern Corridors linked to Dar es Salaam and Mombasa port, respectively.
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 under the EAC procedure for admission of new members in the EAC and report in the next Summit meeting.
“If we are looking for more markets, DRC is an area of priority. In the soonest time possible, we are going to have them join EAC,” Dr Mathuki said.
Most of the country’s imports come from China, which took a lion’s share of 31 percent valued at US$ 2 billion. EAC partners states was a paltry 12 percent valued at US $855 million.
A survey carried out by the East Africa Business Council in 2018 showed that Rwanda sold goods worth US $377 million to DRC, Uganda US$244 while Kenya and Tanzania each sold US$145. Burundi only managed US$19 million.
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 the leadership mantle to President Uhuru Kenyatta.
By allowing the two countries into the East African bloc, the region will benefit from a large consumer market of 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.