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EAC rallies private sector to capitalise on DRC’s entry

EAC rallies private sector to capitalise on DRC’s entry

EAST African Community (EAC) Secretary General Peter Mathuki has urged regional investors to take advantage of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) entry into the bloc.

Dr Mathuki said the second largest country in Africa, after Algeria, was endowed with a huge chunk of land that was yet to be utilised.

“EAC is now a major economic powerhouse on the continent, thanks to DRC’s entry, the private sector has to therefore take full advantage of this,” urged the EAC boss recently.

The vast minerals found in the country will also be bait in attracting investors in the country, opined the EAC boss.

The political instability in the DRC notwithstanding cannot supersede the advantages that come with admitting the country according to Dr Mathuki, noting that the Secretariat was fully committed to resolve the crisis in the country.

Dr Mathuki further disclosed that his office was planning a visit for a business delegation to DRC to explore opportunities found in EAC’s newest member.

“We all need to embrace this, which is why plans are underway to end a delegation of the business community to Kinshasa,” he said.

According to Dr Mathuki, the admission of DRC into the EAC comes with increased GDP and expanded market size making EAC a home to about 300 million people, which would be mutually beneficial to the people of both EAC and DRC by providing employment and investment opportunities that come along with such a development.

He said DRC’s entry means integrating the EAC’s trade infrastructure, intermodal connectivity, one-stop border posts, and systems to reduce trade time and costs.

Dr Mathuki noted further that the inclusion of DRC’s consumer market of close to 90 million people will expand the EAC market to almost 300 million, and open the bloc to the Congolese economy which is rich in all kinds of natural resources.

The admission of the DRC into the EAC, with a population of 95 million people, has been hailed as a game-changer in a region where intra-trade, infrastructure development, health and food security suffered shocks due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the East African Business Council, EAC’s exports to the DRC have averaged 13.5 per cent in the last seven years to 2020. In 2018, the value of imported goods into the DRC stood at 7.4 billion US dollars against exports of 855.4 million US dollars.

DRC applied for membership in 2019, hoping to improve trade and political ties with its East African neighbours.

 

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Author: From EDWARD QORRO in Arusha

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