Regional business executives on Monday, May 9, started their earlier planned business trip to DR Congo to engage their Congolese counterparts with a view to exploit business and investment opportunities in the vast country. Speaking to The New Times from Goma, the capital of DR Congos North Kivu Province, John Bosco Kalisa, CEO of the East African Business Council (EABC), said his delegation started with Goma and will move to Bukavu on Wednesday. The EABC delegation is interested in areas such as agribusiness, banking, mining, construction, manufacturing, the telecommunication sectors, and tourism. In Goma, they interacted with local administration officials as well as members of the country’s Federation des Enterprises du Congo (FEC). They will do the same, later, in Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu Province, before they head to Kinshasa in the first week of June to wrap up their mission. Kalisa earlier told The New Times that his delegation wants to bring their Congolese counterparts to speed about the opportunities provided by both the EAC Common Market and Custom Union frameworks. DR Congo President Félix Tshisekedi, on April 8, signed the Treaty of accession by his country to the East African Community (EAC). On April 12, EAC Secretary General, Peter Mathuki, told a press conference that young people in the region should take advantage of the huge market – about 300 million people – created with the entry of DR Congo into the now seven-member regional economic bloc. Among others, the vast country offers its untapped vast arable land as a major investment opportunity. DR Congo is expected to bolster the bloc’s economic potential in various ways including opening the corridor from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, as well as North to South, hence expanding the economic potential of the region. Lasting solutions to insecurity in the country’s east Last month, Congolese armed groups engaged in consultations aimed at finding lasting solutions to the insecurity in their country’s volatile eastern region, where more than 130 local and foreign armed militia groups have wreaked havoc for decades. The regional initiative is an outcome of the first and second EAC Heads of State conclaves on the peace and security situation in DR Congo under the chairmanship of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta held on April 8 and 21, respectively, at State House Nairobi, Kenya. On April 21, Presidents Tshisekedi, Evariste Ndayishimiye (Burundi), Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, as well as Rwanda’s foreign minister Dr Vincent Biruta, who represented President Paul Kagame, agreed to the deployment of a regional force to help contain armed groups holed up in DR Congo. It was during that meeting that the leaders also demanded all Congolese armed groups to “participate unconditionally in the political process to resolve their grievances” or face military action. DR Congo is 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. It is a major producer of gold, diamonds, uranium, coltan, oil and other precious metals, making it one of the most resource-rich countries in the world. Eleven percent of the goods the vast country consumes come from the six other partner states in the bloc, Mathuki said, while 35 percent of what DR Congo consumes comes from China and other places. Tshisekedi’s accession signature on April 8 immediately brought his country into the realms and provisions of all the protocols and regional policies of the EAC. After signing the Treaty of accession, Kinshasa now has up to September 29 to undertake internal and constitutional processes to ratify the EAC Treaty and submit to the bloc’s Secretary General, and subsequently join all programmes and activities of the bloc.