The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Receives Green Light to Join the East African Community
The Democratic Republic of Congo is now a step closer to joining the East African community. During the 18th Extraordinary EAC head of state summit, held via zoom, and chaired by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, the regional leaders received and considered the admissions request by DRC. The resolution was submitted by the EAC council of ministers.
The summit resolved to expedite negotiations with DRC with the view of making DRC’s admission as soon as possible. The summit also directed the EAC secretariat to amend the EAC Treaty in order to accommodate Kinshasa.
What Could This Mean for DRC
Joining the EAC could be a huge move for the Democratic Republic of Congo. Admission to the block will open up East African borders to the movement of Congolese people. It would also mean that goods from the country can be exported customs-free into East Africa member countries.
DRC will also get access to regional aid where necessary and forge alliances with regional countries in its efforts to deal with some of its pressing domestic issues. As for EAC member countries, the admission of DRC will also bring more benefits. The resource-rich country has a population of nearly 90 million people. This is a huge market for businesses in member countries.
How Soon Will the Admission Happen?
The admission of DRC into the EAC has been in the making for quite some time. There were several negotiations underway but there was always a feeling that it will happen sooner rather than later. However, the timelines are still not clear.
While the East African head of state summit wants to expedite the admission, it may take a bit of time. Besides, there are several trade treaties among EAC members that took years to negotiate. It will take time before such treaties are amended and DRC brought into the mix.
But come what may, one thing is clear, DRC will be a member of EAC in the near term. Besides, it was evident that the EAC member states appear quite excited by the entrance of DRC. They are likely to do everything possible to make this happen in the long run.
History Of Turmoil and Growth Potential
Despite being one of the most resource-rich countries in the world, DRC has endured periods of political turmoil and instability all through its history. In fact, there are still civil wars that periodically break in some parts of the country. Rebel forces also hold influence in large areas.
Also, the DRC remains one of the poorest countries in Africa with corruption and theft of natural resources by international corporations undermining its rise. It’s not clear whether joining the EAC will change any of this.
After all, most EAC member countries also have a fair history of war and government corruption as well. But one thing the country can be proud of now is that it has gained regional allies.