The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has formally joined the East African Community.
DRC President Felix Tshishekedi signed the EAC treaty during a ceremony witnessed by Presidents Kenyatta, Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Paul Kagame (Rwanda) at State House, Nairobi.
President Kenyatta is the chair of the EAC Summit of Heads of State.
The DRC, with 90 million people, became the seventh member State of the regional bloc.
Earlier, the leaders had arrived in Nairobi to witness the signing ceremony. The DRC was officially admitted into the EAC last week.
“I have arrived in Nairobi, Kenya for the Signing Ceremony of the Treaty of Accession to the East African Community by the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he said.
This followed a summit of EAC heads of state and government chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta by video link.
President Kenyatta, the current chairperson, said at the time that the admission of DRC would provide trading and investment opportunities.
Partnerships and collaboration
“Admitting DRC into EAC is historic for our Community and the African continent at large. It demonstrates the agility of the Community to expand beyond its socio-cultural boundaries to new people and trade-centred partnerships and collaboration, thus increasing trade and investment opportunities for the citizens,” Mr said.
President Tshishekedi said the community would create an organ to oversee how natural resources are used in the region.
“It is the desire of DRC to see the creation of a new organ in the EAC that is solely focused on mining, natural resources and energy that will be based in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo,” he said.
The DRC began its process of joining the community in 2019 as it sought to expand and strengthen its trade relations with member countries.
Its population is expected to offer member countries a large market for different commodities.
The DRC now joins Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda in the bloc.