Goma: The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), H.E Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, on Friday officiated over the launch of the East African Community (EAC) Verification Mission to the vast Central African country.
To mark unveiling of the mission, the EAC Secretary General, Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki, presented an EAC flag to President Tshishekedi, who went on to hail progress made by the Community in its integration agenda.
Tshishekedi revealed that the DRC was committed to joining the EAC at the earliest opportunity.
Addressing the media after his meeting with President Tshishekedi, the EAC SG said that the EAC Verification Mission in the DRC from 25th June to 4th July, 2021, will help assess the suitability of the DRC for admission into the Community.
The SG noted that the technical team will then engage their DRC counterparts to ensure that the verification is finalised and a report completed in time, in readiness for presentation to the Council of Ministers who would then table it before the Summit of EAC Heads of State for consideration.
According to Dr. Mathuki, the DRC will also nominate nine members to the East African Legislative Assembly, and judges to the East African Court of Justice, the judicial organ of the Community.
The EAC SG was accompanied to the meeting by Rwanda’s Minister of State for EAC Affairs, Prof. Nshuti Manasseh, the Judge President of the East African Court of Justice, Justice Nestor Kayobera, and Kenya’s Principal Secretary for EAC, Dr. Kevit Desai.
Africa Tembelea has since learnt that the EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Productive and Social Sectors, Hon. Christophe Bazivamo, is leading the Verification team currently in Kinshasa, on behalf of the Secretary General.
Dr. Mathuki believes that benefits arising from free movement of people from other countries, without a visa so long as they are fully in the EAC, will be to the benefit of the DRC.
“DRC would be an important country if it joins the East African Community and her entry would strengthen historical relations with East Africa,” Dr. Mathuki said, adding that the admission of DRC would boost the Community economically and geopolitically.
DR Congo is far much larger than all the six EAC Partner States put together. It has a geographical area of 2.4 million km2 while EAC is approximately 1.8 million km2. However, the approximate population of the EAC is 170 million people, twice that of DRC with 86 million people.