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DRC Joins EAC – Here’s Everything You Should Know

The admission will increase the total population in the EAC to over 275 million from 183 million - making the trading bloc one of the largest in Africa

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The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Tuesday, March 29 officially became the newest member of the East African Community (EAC) bloc.

The country was formally admitted into the EAC during the 19th Extraordinary Heads of  State Summit led by President Uhuru Kenyatta. DRC President Felix Tshisekedi also addressed the meeting.

It makes DRC the seventh member of the bloc which already includes Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan.

Policy-makers and analysts have welcomed DRC’s admission to the EAC. They noted that the entry would go a long way in expanding intra-EAC and intra-African trade. Natural resource-rich DRC has a large population of over 90 million, and the admission will increase the total population in the EAC to over 275 million from 183 million – making the trading bloc one of the largest in Africa.

DRC is, by area, the second largest country in Africa, and the 11th-largest in the world. Its admission more than doubles the EAC’s land size to 4.7 million square kilometres from the current 2.4 million square kilometres.

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While admitting DRC into the community, President Uhuru Kenyatta argued that the entry of DRC would drive development across the region thanks to economies of scale.

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu urged the DRC to quickly ratify the entry to ensure the entire bloc benefits from their entry.

Kenyatta, who chaired the Heads of State summit, stated: “Today, the 29th, is a historic day in the history of the EAC as we admit the DRC into the EAC. We have already considered and agreed, in our closed session, and the Summit has taken the decision to admit the DRC into the EAC.”

“The admission of the DRC into EAC is historic, not only for our countries but our continent at large,” he added.

Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni glowingly spoke of the move, stating that it would bring prosperity to the region. However, he also highlighted security challenges in parts of the DRC.

“For people who are looking for prosperity, this is a very important issue. We welcome the DRC into the EAC…We now need to work on peace in eastern Congo, because that  region has been having problems for some time,” President Museveni noted.

Rwanda’s Paul Kagame called for processes to have DRC participating in EAC activities be expedited.

“I congratulate our brothers and sisters from the DRC and welcome them into the EAC. I urge all the institutions of the EAC to accelerate the admission o processes in accordance with the Treaty and our rules of admission,” he asserted.

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MARTIN SIELE
MARTIN SIELEhttps://loud.co.ke/
Martin K.N Siele is the Content Lead at Business Today. He is also a Quartz contributor and a 2021 Baraza Media Lab-Fringe Graph Data Storytelling Fellow. Passionate about digital media, sports and entertainment, Siele also founded Loud.co.ke
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