BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,8TH APRIL,2022-Felix Tshisekedi, President of DRC together with President Uhuru Kenyatta, Chair of the EAC Summit of Heads of State Friday signed the Treaty of Accession by the Democratic Republic of Congo to the EAC at Statehouse Nairobi.
This follows the admission of DRC as the 7th member of the EAC during the 19th Summit of EAC Heads of State held on Tuesday 29th March 2022.
DRC officially becomes the 7th member state of the East African Community.
President Kenyatta welcomed the move saying: ”Inclusion of DRC into the community will put EAC in a better position to combine resources to develop the much – needed infrastructure especially the main transit corridors running from East to West.”
He added that the coming of the new member into the Community will open doors of opportunity for expanded trade and cooperation.
“With the accession of the DRC, our Community’s population now stands at about 300 million and our combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will now stand at $250 billion,” President Kenyatta said.
The Head of State noted that the accession of DR Congo as a member of the EAC will also strengthen the economic muscle and competitiveness of the regional economic bloc in the continent as well as globally.
“To my brother and friend President Tshishekedi and the people of the DRC, we welcome you to the EAC Customs Union and the EAC Common Market.
President Kenyatta, who is also the chairman of the EAC, pointed out that the accession signature immediately brings DR Congo into the realms and provisions of all the protocols and regional policies of the EAC.
He said the signing will be followed by the immediate removal of all existing Non-Tariff Barriers as well as limitations on the movement of capital, goods, services and people, saying with time this will lead to a major increase in inter-EAC trade.
DRC President Felix Tshisekedi who arrived in Nairobi on a State visit earlier Thursday welcomed the move saying the admission to EAC strengthen peace and security within DRC and the region.
In his speech he reiterated the desire of DRC to see the creation of a new Organ in the EAC that is solely focused on mining, natural resources and energy that will be based in DRC.
President Yower Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda were also in Kenya for the event.
President Museveni emphasized the importance of integration, saying it accelerates prosperity through the provision of a broader market for goods and improves regional strategic security.
The Ugandan leader added that the integration of African countries is easier because they share common social infrastructure including language unlike in Europe where language barrier is a big problem.
President Kagame congratulated DR Congo for joining the EAC and pledged to work more closely with all member countries to deepen integration.
The new map of East African Community that includes DRC as the 7th member was also unveiled.