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DRC returns Kenya’s kind gesture with visa-free privileges to Kenyans

President of Kenya William Ruto and President of DRC Felix Tshisekedi
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has eliminated visa requirements for Kenyans, fostering easier travel and promoting integration within the East African Community. 
  • The visa waiver agreement is expected to enhance trade opportunities between the two nations, with Kenya eyeing the DRC as a potential market for its banking and transportation industries. 
  • This move follows Kenya’s decision to waive visa requirements for DRC citizens, signaling a positive trend of regional cooperation and connectivity within East Africa.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo relaxed visa restrictions for Kenyans on Wednesday, matching Nairobi's gesture five days earlier.

According to the DR Congo's Directorate General of Migration, the decision took effect on September 1, 2023, the same day Kenya eliminated its visa restrictions for Congolese.

According to a circular issued by the Directorate on Wednesday, Kenyan people would no longer need to get visas before traveling to the DRC. This is a new strategy between the DRC and Kenya, according to both parties, to allow people mobility in order to improve integration into the East African community to which both nations belong.

According to the DRC, this might also provide a chance to expand commerce with Kenya, via which it imports products to the country's eastern areas. With a land area of 2.4 million square kilometers and a population of 100 million, Kenya sees the DRC as a prospective market for its banking industry and other industries such as transportation.

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According to government figures, less than 10% of the population has a bank account, and just 13% has access to mobile banking services. Kenya has already boosted its involvement in this industry, with Equity Bank and KCB Bank already present in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

DRC became the eighth member of the East African Community in May of last year. However, it has yet to approve certain of the Community's instruments.

However, it has been well received. Tanzania has similarly removed the necessity for Congolese citizens to get a visa. The Tanzanian embassy in the DRC informed the Congolese Foreign Affairs Minister in a circular dated August 25 that "the United Republic of Tanzania has amended its Immigration Regulation Act No CAP 54 to include the Democratic Republic of Congo among the countries whose citizens do not require a visa (without visa) to enter the United Republic of Tanzania. This is in accordance with the attached Government Note No. 95 of January 17, 2023."

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