The 21st ordinary meeting of the Summit of the East African Community Heads of State, held virtually on Saturday, February 27, directed the Council of Ministers to expedite the process to admit the DR Congo into the regional bloc. Consideration of the June 2019 request by the DR Congo to join the six-member bloc and a progress report on the verification exercise for admission of the Federal Republic of Somalia were some of the items on the agenda of the just-concluded summit. Somalia submitted its application in February 2012. Eventually, the Summit considered the application by the DR Congo to join the community and directed the Council to expeditiously undertake a verification mission in accordance with the EAC procedure for admission of new members into the EAC and report to the 22nd Summit. As for Somalias request, the Summit noted that the verification exercise for its admission into the EAC had not been undertaken and directed the Council of Ministers to follow up on the exercise. The East African Business Council (EABC) this week urged EAC Heads of State to direct relevant organs to fast-track the admission of the DR Congo into the bloc. New SG, judges picked; French adopted Other agenda items for the Summit included: consideration of a Summit directive to include French as an official language of the EAC; appointment of the new Secretary-General; and appointment of new Judges to the East African Court of Justice (EACJ). Kenya’s Peter Mathuki was appointed the next East African Community Secretary-General. He is set to take over from Burundi’s Amb. Liberat Mfumukeko on April 25. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta became the new chair of the Summit, replacing President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. A total of eight new judges were appointed to EAC judicial organs, including two from Rwanda - Lady Justice Anita Mugeni as Judge at the Appellate Division, and Justice Richard Muhumuza as Judge of the First Instance Division. Burundi’s Nestor Kayobera was appointed as President of the East African Court of Justice, replacing Rwanda’s Emmanuel Ugirashebuja. The Summit adopted French as an official language of the community, in addition to English and Kiswahili, and directed the Council of Ministers to expedite the implementation modalities of the directive. EU-EAC Economic Partnership Agreement Meanwhile, the Heads of State recalled their previous discussions on the EU-EAC Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and recognised that not all Partner States are in a position to sign, ratify and implement the agreement, and gave the green light to those that wish to do so to go ahead and commence talks with the EU with a view to starting the EU-EAC EPA implementation under the principle of variable geometry, which allows Partner States to implement integration projects at different paces.