DR Congo Joins East African Bloc to Boost Regional Trading

March 29, 2022
DR Congo

By Adedapo Adesanya

Regional trade in Africa is set to get a boost as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been accepted into the East Africa Community (EAC) today, March 29.

The Central African country will become the seventh member of the East African bloc as it joins Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The country boasts the largest and most populous country to join the EAC, bringing a market of 90 million people and immediately upgrading the region’s GDP from $193 billion to $250 billion.

Bordering five member states of the organization – Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan – DR Congo was assessed from June 25 to July 5, 2021, on its level of compliance with the organisation.

Similarly, DR Congo and Tanzania control almost equally almost all of Lake Tanganyika – a route of improving trade.

As early as early June 2019, it had expressed its willingness to join the alliance in a letter to the President of Rwanda, Mr Paul Kagame, current chair of the EAC Heads of State Summit.

Among the advantages for DR Congo are the integration of the east of the country into the common telecommunications space, which will reduce costs with neighbouring countries; several administrative facilities and a reduction in charges for the commercial and economic activities of Congolese citizens, as well as facilitating their mobility in the eastern countries.

Several EAC countries are among DR Congo’s main African trading partners.

DR Congo is also expected to benefit from reduced tariffs for goods received at the ports of Mombassa (Kenya) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania).

In addition, in February, the EAC Heads of State Summit approved the addition of French as an official language of the community, alongside English and Swahili.

DR Congo could also benefit from the application of the EAC’s Collective Security Pact, with the assistance of countries such as Kenya and Tanzania, in the fight against several rebels in the central African country.

However, there are still reservations about the bloc’s overall effectiveness as it continues to grapple with unreliable funding, political disagreements, and trade disputes across borders.

One key issue remains movement as not all partners have implemented the use of a national identity card to ease travel between countries.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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