The East African Business Council Board has indicated that In 2020, EAC countries imported goods worth USD.49.2million from the DRC while they exported USD. 584 million to DRC.
Top EAC exports to DRC include: lime and cement, iron and steel, Tobacco, Beverages, spirits and vinegar, animal or vegetable fats and oils, wheat gluten, Sugars & confectionery, Plastics, and Soap among other products.
Women cross-border traders in DRC have appealed for trainings on how to export to the EAC to be rolled out. The Goma One-Stop Border Post links Rwanda and DRC. In 2019 Rwanda’s exports of goods to DRC stood at USD 372.5 million while Rwanda’s imports from DRC stood at USD. 16.7 million.
Approximately 80 trucks (including transit trucks) enter DRC from Rwanda via the Goma OSBP daily. 3 trucks cross daily from DRC to Rwanda via the Goma OSBP mainly exporting coffee, scrap metal and minerals. The Goma OSBP operates from 6:00AM-8:00PM and plans are currently underway for 24hrs operationalization. Rwanda and DRC have a common list of goods traded under COMESA simplified trade regime, this allows SMEs to trade across the border without paying import duty.
DRC’s main exports to EAC include: wood, plants, seeds, fruits, re-melting scraps of iron or steel, and Natural sands among others.
Arbitrary and unclear rules & procedures, low capacity of the bureau of standards, high road toll fees are among the barriers to trade into the DRC. The business meeting also called for quick development of the Port at Lake Kivu by 2023 as an alternative means of transport linking DRC, Rwanda and Burundi.
The Business Meeting explored DRC business people to learn about the opportunities availed by EAC Common Market. The EABC partnered with FEC-Goma to roll out sensitization campaigns on EAC protocols, the African Due Diligence Platform (Mansa) and East African Trade and Investment Mission to DRC in a bid to boost B2B networking.
President of FEC-Goma Mr. Bercky Chirimwami said” We are eager to build the capacity of DRC business people to ably trade under the EAC Common Market.” He urged businesspeople in DRC to look for opportunities in cross-border trade and investments.
Mr. John Bosco Kalisa said, DRC joining the EAC has paved the way for waiving visa fees and improvement of regional transport infrastructure. This is set to reduce the cost of doing business. Currently, Tanzanians and Ugandans entering DRC have to pay a visa valid for 30 days charged at USD.50 and vice versa.
DRC has vast resources to hasten industrial development in EAC region. As one of the side event, EABC CEO Mr. Kalisa undertook an industrial tour to Lowa Chocolaterie – an SME factory in Goma, DRC manufacturing chocolates and choco-butter. Lowa Chocolaterie is looking to expand its market to the other EAC Partner States.