THE East African Community (EAC) has formally started the process of screening the membership application by a giant state -the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Initiating the process, The EAC Council of Ministers has referred the application to the 21st Summit of the EAC Heads of State for consideration.
The 21st Summit of the Heads of State that was expected to take place here this year was postponed to early next year, after a request by one of the members.
Senior Public Relations Officer in the Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department of the EAC Secretariat, Mr Simon Owaka, explained that the Chairman of the EAC Council of Ministers, Dr Vincent Biruta, has written to the EAC Secretariat on the request of the DRC to join the Community.
Dr Biruta, who is also Rwanda's Foreign Affairs Minister, made the move and referred the issue to the Summit.
The Council noted that Article 3 of the Treaty specifies matters to be taken into account by partner states in considering the application by a country to become a member of the Community.
DRC, which has a population of more than 81 million, seeks to join the EAC that celebrated its 20th anniversary last Saturday with the bloc prioritizing removal of trade barriers, increasing intra-trade as well as focusing on a political confederation towards political federation.
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi wrote to EAC Chairman, Rwanda President Paul Kagame in June this year, seeking to join the Community, months after there had been speculations about the intention of the country to join the bloc.
The new applicant that seeks to be a seventh member in the fold shares borders with Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.