DRC and Kenya lift VISA restrictions with the aim of enhancing trade
DRC and Kenya Lift Visa Restrictions to Enhance Trade Opportunities
In an effort to promote trade between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Kenya, both countries have recently decided to eliminate visa requirements for each other’s citizens. The DRC lifted its visa restrictions on Kenyans shortly after Kenya declared that Congolese travelers were now allowed to enter the country without a visa.
The Directorate General of Migration in the DRC implemented this change on September 1, 2023, the same day Kenya announced its new visa policy for Congolese nationals. A circular published by the Directorate states that Kenyan citizens will no longer need visas when traveling to the DRC. This mutual decision aims to facilitate the movement of people between the two nations and promote better integration within the East African community, which both countries are part of.
Furthermore, this development presents an opportunity to enhance trade relations between Kenya and the DRC. The DRC, with its vast land area of 2.4 million square kilometers and a population of 100 million, serves as a potential market for various sectors, including banking and transportation. Currently, only a small fraction of the DRC population has bank accounts, and mobile financial services are accessible to just 13 percent of the population, according to official data. Kenya has already made investments in the banking sector in the DRC, with Equity Bank and KCB Bank operating there.
The DRC joined the East African Community in May of the previous year, becoming its seventh member. While it has yet to fully endorse all of the Community’s instruments, it has been well-received. Tanzania has also waived visa requirements for Congolese citizens. In a communication addressed to the Congolese Foreign Affairs Minister, the Tanzanian embassy in the DRC informed that the country has amended its Immigration Regulation Act to allow visa-free entry for citizens from the DRC.
Overall, these visa policy changes between the DRC, Kenya, and Tanzania demonstrate significant progress towards facilitating trade and fostering regional integration within the East African community.