EAC countries begin talks to admit DRC into the regional bloc

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022 00:00 | By
Peter Mathuki.

Jacktone Lawi

NEGOTIATIONS:  East African Community (EAC) market is poised to grow by an additional population of 80 million following the commencement of negotiations to admit DRC into the bloc.

Talks to admit DRC into the EAC region are expected come to an end in the next 10 days after which the Central African State will know its fate. The country is seen as a lucrative market for Kenyan businesses due to its large market.

Alice Yalla, the lead negotiator of EAC delegation said that the task ahead is meant to liberalise the EAC market, especially the private sector by taking trade informally across the borders of member nations.

“In the same breath, we want to give assurance to the honourable ministers that we have already undertaken.

A lot of preparatory work and now we are on the verge of the takeoff,” she said during a  conference that brought together regional trade ministers and delegation from EAC and DRC in Nairobi. 

Peter Mathuki (pictured), EAC Secretary General said all these things must happen in line with the common directive of the heads of states, which must happen between now and end January.

Already EAC says it has shared the negotiating documents with the DRC and both parties are now reading from the same script as we proceed in cementing the relation.

Mathuki said the fruits of the engagements should be expected in the next two weeks. “This is the eighth stage, because in the roadmap there were 10 stages, and this is the eighth one, which is basically negotiation,” he said. 

Major issues

The ninth stage, Mathuki added, will be the council themselves looking at the report that will be coming out of the process and the 10th and final stage will be the heads of states meeting to consider the report at that admitting into the East African Community.

However, there are still major issues to be ironed out before formal entry of DRC into the region.

It is expected that with the official language being French, the EAC will need to change its rules of engagement to make French an official language of the bloc’s business.

“We therefore wish to give that comfort that any legal provision that we have will be analysed, moderated and we’ll get a common footing,” Mathuki said.

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