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It Won’t Be Easy to Integrate a Huge, Chaotic Country into the Rest of the EAC

The Democratic Republic of Congo has joined the East African Community (EAC) as its seventh member, massively expanding the territory of the trade bloc, giving it access to the Atlantic Ocean and greatly increasing the numbers of French speakers in what began as a club of former British colonies. Congolese lawmakers still have to ratify the EAC laws and regulations before they come into effect. Congolese citizens wishing to visit the other member countries – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda – without a visa may need to wait a little longer because full integration into the EAC could take months or even a year. Joining the bloc gives DR Congo better access to facilities such as the Indian Ocean ports of Dar es Salaam and Mombasa. Import taxes for goods accepted as being made in DR Congo will be removed or greatly reduced when entering the other countries, while transporting goods will become much cheaper.