Arusha, 12 July 2022 (TDI): The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was officially admitted as the 7th full member of the East African Community (EAC) after the country deposited instruments of ratification on the accession of the EAC Treaty to the EAC Secretary General, Peter Mathuki.

The DR Congo delegation led by the country’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Christophe Lutundula Apala Pen’ Apala completed its final step in joining the regional bloc in a special function at the organization’s headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

Joining the East African Community (EAC)

Among others, joining the EAC means that from now on DR Congo will fully participate in all EAC programs and activities and join various areas of cooperation with the bloc.

As a full member of the EAC, DR Congo will also be promoting and benefiting from the four pillars of regional integration under the EAC – the Customs Union, the Common Market, Monetary Union, and Political Federation.

Kinshasa applied for membership in 2019 and counts on this integration to give it access to better trade deals in the region and free movement of people within the community.

However, it too has a lot to offer to the bloc in terms of mineral wealth but is undergoing a conflict in the eastern part of its country with Rwanda.

The EAC had even recently agreed at a summit to send a regional force to DR Congo to quell the latest flare-up of violence.

Way Forward

The EAC Secretariat had developed a draft roadmap for DR Congo’s integration into the bloc. The Secretary-General on the occasion also revealed that it does not intend to halt its expansion following the admission of DR Congo. However, he did not elaborate on prospective countries which may join in the future.