Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC) has been officially admitted as the seventh Easter African Community member through an extraordinary virtual meeting held on 29th March 2022.
The admission had raised huge excitement, not only by Congolese people but also cities from other countries including its neighbor Rwanda.
A lot of people who spoke to Kigali Up considered its membership as ‘a game change’ in terms of business. Many anticipate changes in cross-border trading since customs’ protocols might ease.
Kigali Up has spoken to both Congolese and Rwandans to get a glimpse of what DR Congo’ s admission means and reactions towards the decision taken today by EAC heads of states.
Fabien Balume Chiza, 33, Congolese resident in Gisenyi town
There are a lot of advantages to Congolese for being admitted in Easter African Community since free movement amongst these countries has been limited. Travel documents like visas were expensive like in Uganda, Kenya and those countries. Traveling required a Visa for $50 000 for everyone including business people, families or anyone else. For business people, it was really difficult to get such an amount of money plus transport for free. Business has been too slow. However, with that advantage for DR Congo to become officially EAC members, there is a possibility of free movement without taking too long searching for documents-just days passes-. The free movement will help in doing business easily for business people traveling in these countries.
Shakhuru Twizerimana, 28, businessman with Electronics in Goma
It is good news for everyone who likes traveling and most importantly business people. I personally expect to expand my business from here to Gisenyi. I have been working from, even though I am a Rwandan, over travel customs protocols which are somehow complicated. For us, businessmen, we need free movement. Back in the days, I used to travel in Kampala, Uganda, for retailing electronic equipment including phone glasses, headphones, among other basic equipment, because they are cheaper and I used to make profit. It is like in Dubai, but as things will be eased and get back to normal I plan to resume my traveling again. We ask that customs protocols can be eased, for example
Tanzania still has protocols that are tougher to any EAC member. They should consider day-passes and free movement of people and goods.
Joella Nabintu Mfundiko, 23, Goma young entrepreneur in agribusiness
Recently, I was one of the precipitants in a five Cross-border trade held in Gisenyi town. We had shared a lot of experiences with Rwandan entrepreneurs. I have learned more about Rwanda-DR Congo Cross order Trade which I expect with Uganda and Kenya or Tanzanian young entrepreneurs orget a stronger network in terms of business, supplying. The event proved how peaceful the two countries are, hence, we ask more countries to live in harmony to make sure we all keep developing and help each other, across the East African Community. It is really a milestone for generations to come, we are very happy.
Alice Mwindo, 38, sells paraffin in Goma
You see! I married a Rwanda national whom we have been together for a long time doing this business (she speaks confidently in Swahili language mixing some French words), and my husband sells paraffin. We come here to Gisenyi and take it to my hometown, Goma. By business id based in Goma for 15 years, I am able to feed my children since I always travel. Business is expected to boom up as we expect a free movement of people. It is important and good news for [DR] Congo being admitted in Easter African Community. We have been required to pay $ 50 000 for a Visa, it is a lot of money. As COVID-19 preventive measures are being relaxed, they [head of states should consider that, as well. I plan to go to Uganda for retail clothes and body lotion. We are happy that COVID tests were removed, thanks to the movement of Rwanda.