DODOMA– Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has officially applied for inclusion to the East African Community (EAC).
President Felix Tshisekedi the DRC President has on June 13 on a visit to Tanzania confirmed that the neighbouring country has made a formal application to be admitted into the six-member community of nations.
In a letter dated June 8, Mr. Tshisekedi wrote to the current EAC Chairman, Mr. Paul Kagame who is also the President of Rwanda – seeking to join the EAC community.
“This request follows the ever-increasing trade between the economic players of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and those of the states of the Community,” he wrote.
Mr Tshisekedi said that if DRC joins the community it will allow them drop customs barriers and increase trade between member states.
He further added that the desire of his government to join the community of regional leaders is so that they can work together for the development of their respective countries and in so doing, stabilize the Eastern part of Africa.
The DRC is already a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc.
Members of the EAC include Burundi; Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
South Sudan was the latest entrant to the EAC bloc, becoming the sixth member in 2016.
Somalia’s application for admission was frozen due to the prevailing political volatility in the war-torn country.
President Felix Tshisekedi has been visiting EAC countries since he took office in January 2019. He has made efforts to secure and strengthen ties with the continent’s regional bloc.
Mr. Tshisekedi has already visited Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya within the first three months of his time in power. He is presently in Tanzania on a two-day State visit that kicked-off on Thursday, June 13 2019.
The African Union has been advocating for open borders, connecting inter-state roads and other joint infrastructure projects as an avenue of creating political harmony and to discourage various African communities from tribal and ethnic conflicts.