H.E. Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo has said that the signing of the Treaty of Accession of the Democratic Republic of Congo into East African Community (EAC) concretised the commitments made by DRC during her admission into the Community by the Summit of EAC Heads of State during their 19th Extra-Ordinary Meeting held on 29th March, 2022.
“The move would lead to the consolidation of economic benefits to the peoples of DRC and EAC,” said Tshisekedi on Friday after the signing of the Treaty of the Accession of the DRC into the EAC in Nairobi, Kenya.
President Tshisekedi said that DRC’s membership to the Community would facilitate the optimising of agro-economic benefits of bloc, adding that the region’s demographic and geostrategic positions offer several comparative advantages.
The DRC President reaffirmed his country’s readiness to play its role in the Community to make it stronger and more prosperous.
President Tshisekedi reiterated his earlier call to the Summit for the establishment of a new EAC institution that would ensure the sustainable exploitation of the region’s vast natural resources in addition to mitigating the effects of climate change.
The Chairperson of the Summit of EAC Heads of State, H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta, disclosed that Ministers of EAC Affairs and technical experts would move with speed to integrate DRC into the Organs of the Community such as the East African Court of Justice, East African Legislative Assembly and Sectoral Committees on essential matters including trade, industry, finance, agriculture, infrastructure, science and technology, defence, security, education and international cooperation, among other areas.
The Summit Chairperson further said that there was a mechanism for the speedy integration of DRC into the submissions of EAC to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement processes, adding that this would boost the Community’s stake in the AfCFTA.
President Kenyatta said that the signing of the Treaty of Accession would be followed by the immediate removal of non-tariff barriers on the movement of capital, goods, services and people, which will in time lead to an increase in intra-EAC trade, even as he emphasised the role of the private sector in regional integration.
“Our Community is people-centred and private sector-driven. Member States of EAC remain committed to advancing and promoting the private sector’s interests as provided for under Article 127 of our Treaty. Furthermore, Partner States have committed to stimulating market development through infrastructural linkages, promoting conducive investment codes, protecting property rights and other rights, and the proper regulation of our private sector,” he said.
“Towards this end, all Partner States will welcome and establish immediate linkages between our business associations and those of the DRC so as to further develop our trade relations.
President Kenyatta urged the DRC to honour attendant commitments and conclude the domestic processes as per its constitution and deposit the instruments of ratification within the stipulated period of six months.
He said that with the entry of DRC, EAC would become bigger in size than Europe but with almost the same population size coupled with abundant natural resources, and skilled manpower and womanpower.
“Our ability to be a giant not only in East Africa and the globe, rests in our hands,” said President Kenyatta, adding that the region also has the advantage of common languages and cultures with Kiswahili as its lingua franca.