EAC leaders  approve DR  Congo admission

EAC leaders approve DR Congo admission

THE Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) may sooner than later become the seventh member among the East African Community (EAC) Partner States after the 18th Extra Ordinary Heads of State Summit approved its admission into the regional bloc.

What awaits the second- largest country in Africa are three steps towards admission, having successfully attained the initial seven, which also include a verification mission to the expansive country.

Giving the verdict on DRC’s admission into the re- gional intergovernmental organisation of six Partner State through a hybrid meeting, the Summit received and considered the report of the Council of Ministers on the verification mission on the admission of the DRC to join the EAC and directed the Council to expeditiously commence and conclude negotiations with the former for its EAC’s admission.

The Summit further tasked the Council to report on the mat- ter during the next Summit.

In her submission, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Has- san described DRC’s entry into the EAC as a new milestone to the integration.

“As regional leaders, we have thus given directives which will expedite finalization of the remaining process and it will undoubtedly enhance the prosperity of our people and the region as a whole,” the President explained.

According to the Head of State, the DRC was just joining its brothers and sisters. Her Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni said EAC leaders had approved DRC’s admission for regional prosperity.

Through his usual anec- dotes, Mr Museveni singled out Kiswahili as a neutral language that will unite East Africans, as DRC sets to join the community.

Rwanda’s Paul Kagame on his part said his country welcomed the progress made in admitting DRC in the re- gional economic bloc.

“We look forward to the prompt conclusion of the remaining admission proce- dures,” he said.

According to Mr Kagame, deepening regional integration will depend on improving the institutional efficiency and cost effectiveness of the EAC.

The Summit of EAC Heads of State at its 21st Or- dinary Meeting held in Febru- ary this year, considered the application by DRC to join the Community and directed the Council to expeditiously undertake a verification mission in accordance with the EAC procedure for admission of new members into the EAC and report to the 22nd Summit.

President Samia, President Museveni, President Kagame and President Kenyatta attend- ed the virtual summit, while the President of Burundi was represented by the Vice President Prosper Bazombanza and the President of South Sudan by South Sudan’s Minister for EAC Affairs, Deng Alor Kuol.

Last month, the council of EAC ministers endorsed the admission of DRC into the regional bloc of six partner states, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

According to Article 3 (3) of the EAC Treaty, adherence to good governance, democracy, rule of law, observance of human rights, social justice and maintenance of a market-driven economy are some of the benchmarks for a country to be admitted into the EAC regional bloc.

Geographical proximity to member states is the other crucial necessity for admission.

DRC shares a border with South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania through Lake Tanganyika.

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