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DRC Admission to EAC a Boost to Regional Trade

DRC Admission to EAC a Boost to Regional Trade

November 27, 2021
November 26, 2021
President Felix Tshisekedi (3rd from right) with other African Heads of State in Kinshasa. DRC is set to be admitted to East African Community once the recommendations by the council of EAC ministers is approved by the summit. Photo: Courtesy.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is set to join the East African Single Customs Union in a move that will ease the movement of goods and services to the mineral-rich nation.

This follows the endorsement by the Council of Ministers to have DRC join the East African Community (EAC) as the seventh member state under the single customs union, goods moving from the member states will not be subjected to tariffs as is the case at the moment.

The EAC Council of Ministers, chaired by Kenya’s Regional Development Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed gave the nod during an extraordinary meeting this week in Arusha, Tanzania.The endorsement was preceded by a visit to DRC by a team from the EAC from June 26 to July 5 to verify the country’s level of conformity to the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC.

The Summit of EAC Heads of State at their 21st Ordinary Meeting held in February this year directed the EAC Council of Ministers to expeditiously undertake a verification exercise in accordance with the EAC Criteria for Admission of Foreign States.

Its admission to the EAC membership will come as a major boost to the regional bloc given that DRC shares borders with five of the EAC Partner States including Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan.

With the onset of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), the development of infrastructure in DRC will facilitate connectivity of the East to the Atlantic Coast and Southern Africa to northern and West Africa.

The final decision on the admission will now be made by the EAC Heads of State at a summit to be held later after the ministers tabled the report for action by the summit.

Plans are also underway to connect the Burundi railway network with DRC’s, a decision that will provide an opportunity for increasing access to both DRC and EAC markets. This could reduce the cost of intra-regional trade.

In attendance at the meeting were Uganda’s East African Affairs minister Rebecca Kadaga, Tanzania Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation minister Liberata Mulamula, and Burundi’s Foreign Affairs minister Ezéchiel Nibigira.

Kenya’s Mohamed, South Sudan EAC minister Deng Alor Kuol, and Rwanda’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Manasseh Nshuti joined the meeting virtually.Dr Alice Yalla, the Chairperson of the DRC Verification Mission, was also in attendance.