IF all goes as per plan, the East African Community (EAC) will table the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) bid to join the regional bloc during the upcoming 21st Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Heads of State Summit later in this year.
Sources at the EAC headquarters in Arusha had earlier last week confided to this paper that the world’s biggest producer of cobalt had officially communicated its intention to join the bloc through President Felix Tshisekedi in a June 8 dated letter to President Paul Kagame.
The country’s desire to join the bloc was informed by its increasing trade ties with the region.
Mr Kagame currently chairs the EAC, having received the baton from Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni during the 20th Ordinary Meeting of the EAC Heads of State Summit here early this year.
“The six leaders from the EAC partner states are likely to bring DRC’s bid up for discussion at the November Summit,” disclosed EAC Secretariat Media Coordinator Florian Mutabazi.
While hosting President Tshisekedi on his state visit to Tanzania, President John Magufuli publicly endorsed DRC bid to join the bloc, hinting that he had assured his Congolese counterpart of full support as the Central African country craves to join the community.
The DRC becomes the latest country to announce its intention to join the EAC after the Federal Republic of Somalia.
In November last year, Somali Ambassador to Tanzania Mohamed Abdi renewed the country’s bid after paying a courtesy call to EAC Secretary General Libérat Mfumukeko.
The envoy paid the courtesy call as a follow up on his country’s application to join the regional intergovernmental organisation of six partner states.
Article 3 (3) of the EAC Treaty sets out conditions for membership, including adherence to universally acceptable principles of good governance, democracy, rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice.
Others are contribution towards strengthening the integration within the East African region, geographical proximity to and inter–dependence between it and partner states, establishment and maintenance of market driven economy.
The EAC is an intergovernmental organisation of six countries in the African Great Lakes region in Eastern Africa—Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan.