The East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, Peter Mathuki, will lead a delegation comprising the heads of EAC organs and institutions and eminent regional business leaders, to the bloc’s newest partner state, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from September 6 to 9. Mathuki’s trip to Kinshasa follows another trip, in May, by regional business executives who traveled to eastern DR Congo to engage their Congolese counterparts with a view to exploit business and investment opportunities in the vast country. According to the EAC Secretariat, the bloc’s maiden mission to Kinshasa aims at enhancing awareness among Congolese government officials on the existing EAC instruments, create trade synergies, explore and build business partnerships and immediate linkages for business associations. The four-day mission will kick off with a two-day forum amongst Congolese government officials and the EAC Secretariat, the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) as well as the eight institutions of the Community. The forum will provide a platform for heads of EAC organs and institutions to enhance awareness and understanding of the various commitments in the integration pillars and the governing instruments that are in place at EAC level, to Congolese officials. “This forum will create a platform to enhance understanding by DRC government officials on the EAC integration instruments such as protocols, laws, policies and strategies,” Mathuki said on Friday, September 2. The Congolese delegation will be led by the country’s Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Christophe Lutundula Apala Pen’Apala. On September 8 to 9, the private sector leaders accompanying the Secretary General will hold business-to-business (B2B) meetings with Congolese entrepreneurs. The meeting supported by among others, Equity BCDC, a subsidiary of Equity Group Holdings Plc, aims at exploring opportunities for building business linkages and partnerships, on areas of common interests with an aim of developing trade and investment relations. “Equity BCDC is honored to be supporting this inaugural mission by the East African Community Secretary General who is leading a delegation of notable business leaders across the EAC region,” said Celestin Mukeba, Equity BCDC Managing Director. “Since the DRC joined the EAC, the entire bloc now is about 300 million people offering the region a tremendous market, with massive partnership and investment opportunities across sectors such as mining, agriculture, ICT and health. Equity BCDC is here in the DRC to help finance these activities as a trusted partner to both the East African Business Council (EABC) and the EAC,” he added. The forum will also provide an opportunity for regional business leaders to deliberate on the challenges facing the private sector with the EAC Secretary General. “This private-sector forum will provide a platform for tailored match-making between businesses, investors and government agencies and further build linkages between EAC business associations with our newest Partner State,” added Mathuki. On March 29, the EAC Summit admitted DR Congo following a recommendation by the Council of Ministers. DR Congo President Félix Tshisekedi, on April 8, signed the Treaty of accession by his country to the EAC. The DR Congo is expected to bolster the bloc’s economic potential through various ways including opening the corridor from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, hence expanding the economic potential of the region. The country is, among others, the world’s biggest producer of cobalt, a major component in the manufacture of rechargeable batteries for electric vehicles, and Africa’s main copper producer. Following the deposit of instruments of ratification by DRC on July 11, and in line with Article 8 of the EAC Treaty, DR Congo is expected to plan and direct her policies and resources with a view to creating conditions favourable for the development and achievement of the objectives of the Community and enact legislation to ensure implementation of the provisions of the EAC Treaty. The vast natural-resource-rich country, however, is yet to find a lasting solution to the problem of insecurity in its volatile east. Regional leaders continue to pursue the path of talks in a bid to find solutions. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in April 21, hosted Presidents Félix Tshisekedi of DR Congo, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi as they discussed the insecurity caused by militia groups in the region and especially eastern DR Congo. Soon after Kenyatta handed over EAC Summit chairmanship to Burundi’s Evariste Ndayishimiye, in July, the EAC Summit appointed Kenyatta as facilitator of peace talks in the DR Congo. At the time, Kenyatta attended the last regional leader’s Summit as he readied to step down after his second and final term in office ended ahead of the August 2022 elections.