The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was on Tuesday March 29, 2022 officially admitted into the East African Community of member states.
This brings to seven the number of member countries i.e Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and now DRC.
With DRC’s vast land area of more than 2.3m square kilometres, the EAC has gained an enormous geographical clout of more than 4.8m square kilometres, and now surpases the European Union with 27 countries that together occupy over 4.2m square kilometres.
The regional block also stretches from the Indian Ocean coast of East Africa right up to Atlantic Ocean coast of the West Africa.
The official accession to the regional block was marked by an inaugural address delivered by DRC president Felix Antoine Tshisekedi to the 19th Extraordinary Summit of The East African Heads of State held virtually.
After President Tshisekedi’s address, the national flag of DRC was raised at the headquarters of the E.A.C secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania, to partly symbolise membership to the group of member countries.
The event has been billed as a milestone in many aspects including the potential increase in market for businesses operating in the region but also in terms of increasing freedom of movement for the people of the region.
In his typical anti-colonial style, President Yoweri Museveni praised DRC’s accession to EAC as an important milestone towards the reunification of Africa.
Museveni said: “We were connected before colonialism. But when colonialism came we got disconnected. It’s good we are reassembling.”
Uganda’s Minister for E.A.C community affairs and former Speaker of Uganda’s Parliament Rebecca Kadaga and one of those who have coordinated the process further described what is expected of DRC to complete the membership process.
She said: “The Democratic Republic of Congo will be expected to sign the deed of Accession to the Treaty with H.E Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta , Chair of the Summit by the I4th April 2022. Thereafter the DRC will handle internal processes leading to deposit of instruments of Ratification.”