The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the newest member of the East African Community (EAC) following approval by the EAC Council of Ministers. DRC’s addition increases the community’s population by 46% from 195 million to 285 million. DRC will be the largest in the EAC bloc, followed by Tanzania at 947,000 square kilometres.

DRC’s admission was approved during the 18th extra-ordinary heads of state summit held virtually on 22nd December, 2021. The summit was themed Deepening Integration, Widening Cooperation, chaired by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta. The President received and considered the report of the Council of Ministers on the verification mission on the admission of the DRC to join the EAC.

In his remarks, President Uhuru Kenyatta said, “I want to appreciate you all for heading my call to make this important decision for our region and future trade. A key plank of our deliberations today was progressing the aspirations of our brothers and sisters in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to join with us in the East African Community. I consider this as a testament to not only the success of the East African Community but also the opportunities that remain untapped.”

While expressing satisfaction at the progress made towards greater regional solidarity and shared prosperity, President Kenyatta urged all member states to continue prioritizing the EAC agenda. “Indeed, it is notable that work is progressing well in the implementation of the four pillars of EAC integration namely the customs union, the common market, the monetary union and ultimately the political federation,” he noted.

On her part, President Samia Suluhu of Tanzania said, “On the readiness of DRC to join the community and we have given directives which will expedite the finalization of the remaining processes. We all know the importance of DRC joining our community. As all partner states have long and close cooperation by either bordering or having trade relationship which will enhance the prosperity of our people and the region.”