East African heads of state have directed the Council of Ministers to begin and conclude the process of admitting the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) into the East African Community.
The directive follows a virtual 18th Extra-ordinary summit of the East African Community heads of state that was held on Wednesday, to deliberate on DRC’s application among other regional issues.
The meeting was held virtually under the theme: “Deepening Integration, Widening Cooperation.”
It was well attended by all East African countries presidents, including President Museveni (Uganda), President Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya), President Paul Kagame (Rwanda), and President Samia Suluhu Hassan (Tanzania)
Burundi was represented by Prosper Bazombanza, the Vice President, and Deng Alor Kuol, who is the Minister of East African Community Affairs represented South Sudan.
In a communique that was sent out after the meeting, the members stated that they discussed extensively the admission of DRC, and ordered the Council of Ministers to conclude its admission.
“The summit recalled that at its 21st ordinary meeting held on February 27, it considered the application by the DRC to join the EAC and directed the council of ministers to expeditiously commence and conclude negotiations with the DRC for admission to the East African Community,” the members resolved.
Last month, the ministers in charge of East African Affairs from the EAC had recommended to the heads of state the commencement of the admission of DRC into EAC during the 44th Extra-Ordinary meeting held on November 22.
President Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania commented in the meeting that DRC’s admission to the East African Community “will be a new milestone to the integration.”
She said that Tanzania is ready to work with DRC and all EAC member states to further integrate.