East Africa: EAC Exports to DRC Surges

THE total value of East African Community (EAC) partner states' exports to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2018 amounted to 7.4 billion US dollars.

The figure represented a 13.1 per cent growth, a new study reveals.

A study on trade opportunities in the 'Giant of Africa', for regional Small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) which will be jointly launched virtually by the East African Business Council(EABC) and the German development agency (GIZ) today, notes that Rwanda exported the most, out of all the six partner states.

The study will enable SMEs in the EAC to realign and focus their operations to match the growing opportunities in the DRC.

It also identifies the key supplying markets of the DRC, thus enabling SMEs to gauge or even benchmark on the competition.

The regional fast-growing economy exports to the DRC clocked over 37.4 million US dollars followed by Uganda which exported goods worth 204 million US dollars.

Kenya comes third in the new study having exported 149.8 million US dollars worth of goods and products to the Central African nation while Tanzania's exports to DRC worth 144.9 million US dollars.

Burundi exported the least value of products of all the EAC partner states 18.9 million US dollars according to the study.

Goods that were exported by the EAC countries to the DRC included Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, Wheat, Rice and Cement.

They also include Q uicklime, slaked lime and hydrauliclime while Animal and vegetable fats and oils and their fractions also feature on the list of exported goods to the DRC among others.

"EAC's export of petroleum oils to the DRC is growing faster than that of other products," says the study.

On the other hand, Tanzania's top exports to the DRC included Cigarettes, containing tobacco, Ammonium nitrate, Q uicklime, Soap and organic surfaceactive products. Others are Wheat and Meslin Flour.

According to the study, most of the trade between the EAC and the DRC is concentrated in the eastern part of the DRC, with a large stretch covering the western borders of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania.

The DRC presents a huge trade opportunity trade. With a population of approximately 81 million people, it holds almost half of the population of the EAC member states and thus a huge market.

The country's application to join the EAC is a signal to businesses in the EAC to strategically and operationally prepare to tap into the lucrative DRC market.

In a letter addressed to the President Paul Kagame of Rwanda on June 2019, the DRC requested its integration into the EAC, which so far comprises Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Southern Sudan.

However this still remains to be seen after cancelation of the EAC Heads of State Summit that was schedule to take place in February this year.

The meeting should have made it possible to draw up the necessary timetable for the examination of this request, starting with the dates of visits by EAC delegations to DRC.

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