Arusha, Tanzania – The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), H.E. Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, will on Thursday this week launch the East African Community (EAC’s) verification mission to the country in the eastern Congolese town of Goma.
DRC shares a border with six EAC Partner States namely Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan.
According to a statement from the EAC Secretariat, a high level mission comprising EAC Secretary General Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki and officials from Partner States Ministries of EAC will witness the launch by the Congolese Head of State.
“Intra-EAC trade has increased among the EAC Partner States in the past 10 years. And we have no choice. That is why we are widening to include the DR Congo to become the 7th member of the EAC,” EAC Secretary General Hon. Dr. Mathuki said in a tweet shared on the Community’s official twitter handle @jumuiya.
Africa Tembelea understands that the verification process follows an EAC Heads of State Summit at its 21st Ordinary Meeting held on 27th February, 2021 that considered the application by DRC to join the Community, and further directed the Council to expeditiously undertake a verification mission in accordance with the community’s procedure for admission of new members and report to the 22nd Summit.
“The larger verification team which was appointed by the EAC Council of Ministers earlier this month will be in DRC for 10 days to assess the vast Central African country’s suitability to be admitted into the Community,” a statement from the EAC secretariat read in part.
According to the EAC Secretariat statement, the verification team comprises three experts from each Partner State to be funded by the EAC Secretariat and an additional maximum of two experts to be funded by the nominating Partner State to carry out the Verification Mission from 23rd June to 3rd July, 2021.
The verification team will, among other things, review the current status of the DRC in international law and establish the country’s level of conformity with the criteria for admission of foreign countries as provided in the Treaty.
Under the Treaty, the Criteria for the admission of new countries into the Community include: acceptance of the Community as set out in the Treaty; adherence to universally acceptable principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice; potential contribution to the strengthening of integration within the East African region, and; geographical proximity to and inter-dependence between it (the foreign country) and the EAC Partner States.
Other criteria include the establishment and maintenance of a market-driven economy; and; social and economic policies being compatible with those of the East African Community.
The Secretariat is expected to submit it’s Verification Mission report to the Council of Ministers by November 2021.