The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has become the seventh member of the East African Community (EAC) after it was admitted to the trade bloc on 29 March 2022, pending formal ratification. The DRC’s admission as a full member will expand the EAC market by 50% to about 300 million people and will increase the trade bloc’s yearly economic output by a quarter. As of 2019, the EAC’s combined annual gross domestic product reached US$ 193 billion.
The DRC’s admission to the EAC provides the trading bloc with access to the Atlantic Ocean via Matadi and Boma, the country’s two shallow water ports on the Congo River. With the bloc now extending from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, the region is expected to become more competitive, and to more easily access opportunities in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).