The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has not expressed interest in the affairs of the East African Community (EAC). As such the five partner states cannot intervene in its affairs.
This was revealed by the Deputy Secretary General of the EAC, Beatrice Kiraso, during a press conference on the progress made in the fast tracking of the East African Political Federation that was held in Kampala on Monday.
“We have received a request from Southern Sudan expressing interest to join the East African community but it is not possible because the treaty establishing the community clearly states that all member states must be sovereign.
“We are waiting for DRC to show interest and maybe we can help them solve their problems as a community,” she said.
She noted significant achievements have been registered in different areas of cooperation highlighted in the Treaty, including the implementation of projects and programmes, harmonization of policies, enlargement of the community and in the enhancement of relations with other regional and international organisations and development partners.
The latest development is the first EAC investment conference that opened in Kigali today.
To fast track regional political integration, the EAC embarked on sensitisation of the people of the region, and subsequently consultations will be carried out to seek the people’s views regarding integration in general and political federation in particular.
Key findings from Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya where the consultations were held in 2007 indicated that the political federation was “overwhelmingly supported” despite some questions that were raised mainly due to lack of information.
“Economic integration is necessary but not sufficient if East Africa is to make the expected impact for the betterment of her people.
There are issues of social and political nature to be addressed if the integration agenda is to be complete and bear the desired fruits,” Kiraso noted.
She added that to facilitate smooth economic integration which is a prerequisite for the ultimate goal of a political federation, the EAC had embarked on harmonisation of policies in various areas and has designed regional infrastructure projects such as the power and road master plans, harmonisation of standardised university fees, coordination of the East African Cable System, and the Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency among others.
Sensitisation and consultations in Rwanda and Burundi are going on and are expected to be finalised by the end of next month.