The Democratic Republic of Congo has expressed interest in joining the East African Community (EAC).
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi formally wrote to his counterpart Paul Kagame, who is also the current EAC chairman.
In the letter, President Tshisekedi says his country’s request is based on growing relations with the EAC member states.
The EAC currently has six members, including Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Burundi and Uganda.
The Rwanda New Times reports Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda’s State Minister for EAC affairs, to have placed a formal request to have the DR Congo’s interest put into the next EAC Heads of State Summit.
“There is a procedure that needs to be undertaken, and then visits on the ground for verification of several issues. A similar exercise is being undertaken regarding the request by Somalia,” Nduhungirehe said.
“I can’t tell exactly how long it will take but if the EAC Summit agrees with the request, I think the procedure will be launched and we hope that DR Congo will officially join the community as soon as possible.”
According to Owora Richard Othieno, Head of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at the EAC Secretariat in Arusha, Tanzania, when a country officially applies to join EAC, the Chairperson of the Community directs their country’s Minister in charge of EAC affairs to officially inform the Secretariat.
“Once it (the letter) is received here then the Secretariat will table it at the next Council of Ministers meeting. The Council will then form a committee to undertake a verification mission accordingly.”
The Council will consider Kinshasa’s application under Article 3 of the EAC Treaty.