East Africa: DR Congo applies for admission to East African Community

The Democratic Republic of Congo has formally applied for admission to the six-member East African Community (EAC).

Dar es Salaam — The Democratic Republic of Congo has formally applied for admission to the six-member East African Community (EAC).

The vast natural resource-rich central African country is seeking to join the regional bloc after various behind-the-scenes rapprochements.

Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi this week wrote to his Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame, who is the current chairman of the EAC, seeking to join the Community whose member countries are Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

"This request follows the ever-increasing trade between the economic players of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and those of the states of the Community," he wrote on June 8.

The desire of his government, President Tshisekedi observed, is to join the Community of regional leaders "so that we can work together for the development of our respective countries and stabilise this part of Africa."


President Tshisekedi who is currently on Sate visit to Tanzania has been on a charm offensive in EAC since he assumed office in January this year as he seeks to secure and boost ties.

In the first three months of his presidency, he has visited Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

Mr Tshisekedi said his tour to Tanzania is part of his country's efforts to enhance cooperation with other countries.

He said he was satisfied with the Tanzanian government efforts to improve infrastructure including the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway.

"I am sure that efforts by Tanzania government to improve business environment will play a big role towards EAC integration," said Mr Tshisekedi.


In terms of trade, DRC accounts for about six percent of total exports from the EAC countries.

DRC has a small coastline on the western side in Kinshasa and largely depends on the ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam for its imports.

Eastern DRC, which is plagued by militia groups and is currently fighting an Ebola outbreak that has claimed nearly 1,400 lives, shares borders with South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

Mr Tshisekedi is the first Congolese leader to take power in a peaceful transition and has promised bring stability to the country.

South Sudan was the latest entrant to the EAC, becoming the sixth member in 2016.

omalia's application for admission was frozen due to instability in the country.

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