News that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has officially applied to join the East African Community (EAC) is good. This is because the DRC is not only humungous in landmass but also in resources. This resource-parked country, if well utilized, apart from improving the conditions of its people, will contribute immensely to the economies of the EAC member states and the regional in general.
Since the country gained its independence, it has never been developed. This presents an opportunity for products and service providers such as construction companies to bid and win tenders to build this mega country. If the EAC becomes a solid country, the plunder of the DRC will come to an end and result into an opportunity the EAC can bank on.
Arguably, the EAC needs to work fast and fast-track the membership of the DRC as it seeks to entice other countries such as Zambia and others in the region that seek to make good of this regional unification.
In his letter for application for membership of the EAC, DRC’s president Felix Tshisekedi was quoted (Daily Nation, June 14, 2019) as saying that “this request follows the ever-increasing trade between the economic players of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and those of the states of the Community.” I am sure with the membership to the EAC, trade will increase and become healthier than it currently is.
The DRC has virgin soil and immense uninhabited land that can address many landlessness problems shall the bloc decided to become one single country whose citizens are allowed to acquire land and live anywhere. The land issue contributed to Tanzania, the giant of the region in land and resources, to adamantly refuse to immerse itself in the EAC. Compare the DRC’s population of about 92, 000, 000 and the landmass of 2, 345, 409 km2. compared to the EAC’s population of at about 170, 000,000 and the landmass of 2, 467, 202 km2. This is why the coming of the DRC to the EAC is a game changer.
DRC’s EAC membership assures it of economic and political development as Tshisekedi concurs noting that “so that we can work together for the development of our respective countries and stabilise this part of Africa.”
Quite frankly, the arrival of a new kid on the block into the EAC is but a game changer shall the regional body take this challenge competently and strategically.
By Nkwazi Mhango
Author of over 20 books among them: Africa Reunite or Perish and How Africa Developed Europe.