The proposed admission of the Democratic Republic of Congo ( DRC) into the East African Community ( EAC) is set to dominate the next meeting of the leaders next Wednesday.
The 18th Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State of the EAC Partner States is set to take place on December 22, according to the notice issued on Saturday by the Secretariat.
The summit will be preceded by the 45th Extra-Ordinary Council of Ministers Meeting on Monday.
According to the notice, the agenda of the virtually-held meeting has two items; the report of the Council of Ministers on the admission of the DRC into the EAC and the amendment of the Quorum Rule of the Summit of EAC Heads of State.
Since 2018, the Heads of States Summits have been postponed several times with some partner states failing or declining to attend for various reasons, ranging from lack of resources and inadequate preparation to political issues.
In early 2020, South Sudan’s Salva Kiir did not attend because the country was in the process of forming a unity government.
Other meetings have been called off due to the failure to attend by Rwanda and Burundi, for unexplained reasons.
Some heads of state have had issues traveling to other countries or attending especially physical meetings, due to bilateral political standoffs.
The EAC Treaty requires for at least one meeting a year for the Heads of State.
And According to Rule 11 of the Rules of Procedure of the Summit of the EAC Heads of State, a quorum is made of all Partner States representation which is in consonance with decision making by consensus under Article 12 of the Treaty.
The leaders are also due to discuss the report on the proposed admission of the DRC, for which the Council of Ministers voiced their approval.
“DRC shares borders with five of the EAC Partner States; namely Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan, there is a sense of belonging and attachment to EAC socially, economically, historically, culturally and geographically,” reported the Council of Ministers after a verification mission to the DRC in November.
The DRC’s now imminent admission is expected to increase the bloc’s population by almost 105 million to 290 million people, while the value of the economy will grow by another 46 billion dollars to 270 billion.
Uganda’s national army, UPDF has been in the DRC for two weeks now jointly with Congolese forces, pursuing Allied Democratic Forces rebels.