The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is currently in the final stages of their admission to the East African Community, the common market for East Africa. Final admission is scheduled to be rubberstamped in March of this year. The admission of the DRC presents a major opportunity for investment in the region.
With the DRC having a total population of around 90 million inhabitants, the total EAC market size will grow from a current 180 million to over 270 million customers. This is more than France, Germany, Italy and Spain combined.
At the moment, many of the foodstuffs produced in existing member states are already exported to the DRC due to the high demand and higher market prices. For example, at the moment, nearly 70% of all farmed fish produced in Uganda is exported, primarily to the DRC and Kenya.
As part of the admission process, trade tariffs, customs and movement on labour will be aligned, streamlining trade and investment. Member states are already looking to increase their trade with the DRC and are investing significantly in improving the logistical access to the country. For example, President Museveni of Uganda recently commissioned the construction of 223 km of roads to improve access to the DRC border, and efforts are being made to connect the DRC to the Dar es Salaam port through a new railway.
The admission of the DRC to the EAC provides a significant opportunity for companies looking to localize production in fast-growing economies. Knowledge of local market conditions and investment relationships is however key to success. Since 2012, Larive International has been present in the East-African market through our Kenyan partner Lattice Consulting and business partners in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. Interested to learn more about this development and the possible opportunities for your business? Feel free to reach out to our colleague Tim de Kruiff.