DR Congo Finally Joins The East African Community: The Democratic Republic of the Congo has become the East African Community’s (EAC) seventh member, significantly expanding the trade bloc’s territory, giving it access to the Atlantic Ocean, and significantly increasing the number of French speakers in what began as a club of former British colonies.
At a summit conference on Tuesday, East African Community chiefs of state authorized the entrance of the Democratic Republic of the Congo into the bloc, but while it is now formally a member, not much can change immediately. Congolese legislators must still ratify the East African Community’s laws and regulations before they take effect.
Congolese nationals who intend to visit the other East African Community member nations – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda – without a visa may have to wait a bit longer, since full integration into the East African Community might take months or possibly a year.
South Sudan, for example, took four months from signing the community treaty in April 2016 to becoming a full member of the East African Community in August of the same year.
Why DR Congo joined the East African Community?
In 2019, the Democratic Republic of the Congo filed for membership, intending to strengthen commercial and political connections with its East African neighbors. It will allow Congolese individuals to freely travel to other countries, and trade will become more faster, easier, and cheaper, benefiting businesses and consumers worldwide.
Except for Kenya, the nation shares borders with other EAC members and seeks to attract additional investors from the area. By joining the EAC, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has improved access to infrastructure such as the Indian Ocean ports of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa.
Import tariffs on commodities acknowledged as being created in the Democratic Republic of the Congo will be eliminated or significantly reduced when entering other countries, and shipping goods will become much cheaper.
It is now difficult for Congolese business persons to travel to Uganda since obtaining travel documents to enter Uganda costs $45 on the DR Congo side of the border. When they arrive in Uganda, they must pay $50 for a visa. Then there are fees for a Covid-19 test, bringing the total to over $120.
The addition of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s consumer market of about 90 million people will increase the EAC market to almost 300 million people and expose the bloc to the Congolese economy, which is rich in natural resources of all types, DR Congo Finally Joins The East African Community.
The inclusion of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) into the East African Community will boost tourism in the region even more and make transit between the states much easier for travelers if the country, like its neighbors Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya, adopts the East African Tourist Visa.
Tourism in DR Congo and the East African Member States.
Tourism in the Democratic Republic of Congo is mostly conducted in the eastern province with majority of travellers visiting Virunga National Park in Goma and Kahuzi Biega National Park in Bukavu.
Congo’s Virunga national park is famous for hosting half of the world’s remaining mountain gorilla populations; with the other half found in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, as well as Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
Let’s not forget how many tourists have flocked to the Democratic Republic of Congo just to hike the famous Nyiragongo Mount which holds the world’s largest lava lake. The main highlight of any hike on Mount Nyiragongo in Congo is its molten lava lake that has left so many hikes marvelled at its natural beauty and red light sky, as if mirroring the red hot lava bubbling at the summit of the active volcano mountain.
Congo’s Kahuzi Biega National Park is also famous for its population of eastern lowland gorillas. The national park offers visitors an opportunity to track the Eastern lowland gorillas at a fee of $400 for a gorilla permit. A visit to Lwiro sanctuary provides a good opportunity for visitors to combine lowland gorilla trekking with a chance to see habituated chimpanzees at the Lwiro Sanctuary.
With the Democratic Republic of Congo now joining the East African Communities, tourists can now easily combine a Congo Safari with a wildlife or gorilla safari in Uganda or Rwanda and of course, a wildlife safari in Kenya or Tanzania. Travel across borders has just become easier with DR Congo joining board as one of the East Africa member states.