By LUKE ANAMI
The Democratic Republic of Congo will officially be admitted to the East Africa Community (EAC) next week, adding a 90 million market for the bloc.
The EAC Secretary-General Dr Peter Mathuki, in a letter to ministers in charge of the EAC docket in member states, confirmed that the Heads of State would approve the admission on March 29.
“We are in receipt of a letter dated 18th March from the chairperson of the Council of Ministers informing the Secretariat of the convening of an extraordinary summit on the admission of the DRC into the EAC on 29th, March 2022,” said Dr Mathuki.
“The summit will be preceded by the 48th Extraordinary meeting of the Council of Ministers on Friday 25th March. The proposed agenda for the summit will be the consideration of the report of the council on the admission of DRC into the EAC.”
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is the current chair of the EAC, is expected to preside over the summit that also includes President Samia Suluhu Hassan (Tanzania), Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (Uganda) Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Evariste Ndayishimiye (Burundi) and Salva Kiir of South Sudan.
Why DR Congo is irresistible
• The EAC currently has 193 million citizens. DR Congo’s admission would raise that to 280 million people, spanning the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean. This large market is to the benefit of all, for the DRC would be able to buy and sell easily to the rest of East Africa, for the benefit of its people.
• Harnessing of idle resources viable with benefits and no loss for DRC, and the region. For example, a power dam at Inga would supply 60,000MW of clean, renewable energy and forever close the debates and hassle of where or not to build hydroelectric dams in East Africa.
• The mineral resources of DRC and the wider EAC market would make rapid industrialisation of the Congo possible, with skilled manpower from the region also available as a local resource.