NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 19 – The East African Community has been urged to fast track the admission of the Democratic Republic of Congo into the regional bloc noting that it sources for goods that the EAC can ably supply, from very distant markets.
A study conducted by the East African Business Council reveals that the value of goods imported in the DRC in 2019, stood at USD 6.6 billion.
The study reveals China is the top exporter to the country commanding a share of 31.2 percent, followed by South Africa at 15.8 percent and Zambia 13 percent.
However, EAC exports to the DRC in 2018, stood at USD 855.4 million, representing 11.5 percent of total DRC imports.
East African Business Council CEO Peter Mathuki says DRC will benefit from the larger EAC Common Market and Common External Tariff framework.
He added that the country will also, have access to seaports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam at competitive rates.
“DRC will benefit from the larger EAC Common Market and Common External Tariff framework. It will also have access to the seaports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam at competitive rates. Their huge population of 81 million people also provides a vast opportunity for SMEs from the EAC region,” Mathuki said.
The study finds that non-tariff barriers in DRC have hampered business translating to high cost of doing business in the country.
“EABC being the apex body for the private sector in the region will play a critical role in advocating for ease of doing business in DRC which will in turn lower cost of doing business, making DRC competitive, as we prepare to join the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” Dr Mathuki said.
The call came a year and two months after DRC applied for admission to join the Community.