A message from Nairobi on Friday said that people from the Democratic Republic of the Congo may now visit Kenya without a visa.
The DRC is made to feel welcome in the East African bloc. Kenya asserts that the new regulation is a part of continuing legislative modifications aimed to speed up the DRC’s admission to the East African Community.
Last Monday, a notice informing all Kenyan diplomatic missions abroad and the regional administration heads of Kenya of the impending change in policy was distributed. According to a report from the Eastern African journal The East African, it said that the visa waiver will take effect on September 1.
According to the East Africa Community restrictions of free movement of individuals among member states, the government of Kenya has shifted the Democratic Republic of the Congo from Category 2 to Category 1 of the visa restrictions, according to a circular dated August 25. The circular further states that beginning of September 1, 2023, all citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are exempt from visa restrictions.
The DRC became the seventh member of the EAC in May of last year. Even though it hasn’t yet proceeded to some of the protocols like those on free movement and the customs union, Kinshasa has often depended on bilateral agreements with existing member countries for visas. Kenyan citizens do not need visas to enter the DRC as a result of this agreement.
This move has been anticipated by the Congolese administration for some time. Making it simpler for people and goods to travel across the EAC area is essential, as Christophe Lutundula noted a few months ago.
The bulk of the goods coming from the Indian Ocean are received at the port of Mombasa in Kenya, according to the Congolese foreign ministry. In addition, he said that in addition to the port of Mombasa, goods also pass via Tanzania’s Dar Es Salam port.
The Congolese government, however, claimed that they expected that as a result of membership in the EAC, the Congo and its citizens would now have access to the same customs facilities as other East African community members.
The minister, who spoke weeks before this decision, asserted that the DRC has every reason to pursue regional integration and to be successful in joining the East African bloc because five of the nine neighboring nations (Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and South Sudan) are in the East and are members of the East African Community.
As a result, as soon as President Félix Tshisekedi assumed office in January 2019, he focused his diplomatic efforts on his eastern neighbors, who he referred to as “the most integrated bloc in Africa” in the words of the previous president of the DRC.