The East African Community Council of Ministers has given a nod to the admission of the Democratic Republic of Congo into the regional bloc.
The approval follows negotiations held between the EAC and the DRC between January 15 and 24 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The regional bloc’s Negotiations Team was spearheaded by Dr. Alice Yalla, the Integration Secretary at the Ministry of EAC and Regional development and Prof Serge Tshibangu, special envoy of DRC President Felix Tshisekedi.
“As you are aware, the DRC delegation was in Nairobi in the last week of January 2021. The negotiations with the DRC have been concluded and a negotiation framework matrix jointly adopted,” Adan Mohamed, the Cabinet Secretary, EAC and Regional Development said moments after an Extra-ordinary Council meeting virtually on February 8.
“We have now recommended to the summit to consider admitting the DRC into the Community in accordance with Article 3 of the EAC Treaty.”
The Council has instructed the EAC secretariat to come up with a draft roadmap for the integration of the DRC into the community and hand it over to the Council for consideration.
In 2019, the DRC admission process was kicked off by an application from the nation seeking to join the EAC, marking stage one of the admission process.
During the 18th Extra Ordinary EAC Heads of State summit virtual meeting held last year December 22 and chaired by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, the six heads of state asked the council of Ministers to commence negotiations with the DRC in a bid to pave the way for its admission to the EAC.
In January, DRC reaffirmed their willingness to join the EAC through their Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Christophe Lutundula Apala Pen’Apala,
The procedure for admission entails a Verification Exercise; negotiations with the DRC on their admission to the EAC directed by Summit; Admission of the DRC; and deposition of the instrument of acceptance of the terms of admission by the DRC within six (6) Months of her admission to the Community.
The DRC will now await the EAC Heads of State summit to be announced later this month.