The Democratic Republic of Congo has formally joined the East African Community when President Felix Tshisekedi signed the deed of Accession to the Treaty establishing the EAC at a ceremony held on Friday at State House Nairobi, Kenya.
DRC was admitted as the seventh member of the regional bloc on March 29 during the virtual 19th Extraordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State chaired by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta. Following this, the DRC was required to sign the treaty to officially become a member.
President Tshisekedi signed the treaty together with the EAC Heads of State Summit Chairperson, President Kenyatta, as per the requirements of the EAC admission process.
Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda attended the brief but elaborate ceremony.
The signing was carried out seven days to the April 14 deadline that the EAC had granted the DRC.
“The signing of the treaty of accession marks the formal entry of the DRC into the EAC having satisfied the conditions set under Article Three (3) and Four (4) of the treaty, and following its admission during our virtual extraordinary summit held on March 29 this year,” said President Kenyatta.
“To get to this point, it has taken strong leadership and commitment to the ideals of the EAC integration agenda and a clear understanding of the shared benefits that come from working together.”
President Felix Tshisekedi assured the Community of his country’s commitment to the EAC, adding that DR Congo will play its part in making the region stronger and more prosperous.
“The DRC renews the commitment made on March 29, that is to work so that we can develop our Community and especially through optimising the agro-economical activities in our countries and opportunities of cooperation that should be exploited for the wellbeing of our population,” he said.
Mr Museveni said the East African Community is only sensible if it brings about the prosperity of the citizens of the member states through Market Integration and Strategic Security.
“Above all, we have what Europe doesn’t have- Common language,” he said.
He said he had been waiting for the last 60 years for the Democratic Republic of Congo to return where it belongs (EAC).
“We now have a bigger market; more investment opportunities for our citizens and we are stronger as we go to negotiate with other blocks. I once again welcome the Democratic Republic of Congo to the East African Community. I, therefore, call upon leaders and citizens of the EAC to make productive use of the social-cultural advantages and similarities we have as a region to cement our integration,” Mr Museveni said.
Authored by Luke Anami