The Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday lifted visa restrictions on Kenyans, reciprocating to a gesture by Nairobi announced five days earlier.
The Directorate General of Migration in the DR Congo said the move, in fact, was effective on the same day Kenya lifted its visa requirements on Congolese on September 01, 2023.
A circular publicised on Wednesday by the Directorate said Kenyan nationals will no longer be required to get visas before travelling to the DRC. This is a new policy between the DRC and Kenya, both sides say, is to facilitate the movement of people for better integration into the East African community to which both countries belong.
The DRC says this could also offer an opportunity to increase trade with Kenya through which it imports goods to eastern regions of the country. With the size of 2.4 million kilometres squared and a population of 100 million, the DRC has been seen by Kenya as a potential market for its banking sector, and other sectors such as transportation.
Less than 10 percent of the population have bank accounts and just 13 percent can access mobile financial services, according to official data. Kenya has already increased its investment in this sector with Equity bank and KCB Bank already in the DRC.
DRC joined the East African Community in May last year, becoming the seventh member. It is yet to ratify some of the Community’s instruments, however.
But it has received favourable welcome. Tanzania has also lifted the visa requirement for Congolese citizens. In a circular dated August 25, the Tanzanian embassy in the DRC wrote to the Congolese Foreign Affairs Minister stating 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 for which its 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.”