As a young person fresh from college or university looking to establish yourself in a career, expand your world view or just venture into business, the East Africa Community (EAC) is proving to be an exciting bloc full of opportunities that are yet to be fully tapped into.
For the past few weeks, the airwaves have been full of news of how the DRC has ascended into the EAC and what this means for the other member states. We take a different angle and break this down for you as a young person in terms of education and professional career, entrepreneurship and business and tourism.
Education and professional career
According to the Ministry of Education, Kenya has 102 registered public universities hosting about 452,089 students and graduating not less than 10,000 per year. This simply means that every new year, a fresh lot of 10,000 people enter the Kenyan employment scene looking for lucrative job opportunities.
If you are a graduate fluent in English and Kiswahili with an added knowledge in French, then you should consider DRC as a potential market for employment. During the 2021 Kenya-DRC Trade Mission that was organized by Equity Group in partnership with the Governments of Kenya and DRC, we see Jackline Wanja, a teacher at St. Marcel Academy in Lubumbashi sharing her experience after working in DRC as a tutor for over one year. Her experience is evidence enough that with the right skills and papers you can get employment in the DRC. This simply means that if you are a professional with the right training and the zeal to succeed, you now have an added market to transfer your knowledge and skill to.
Entrepreneurship and business
With DRC’s ascension to the EAC, young people in business now have access to a market of nearly 100 million people. This means that if you are in general trade, selling basic commodities for use by households, you have a wider market reach.
DRC alone has a population of nearly double what Kenya has. This means that if you are selling electronics, fast moving consumer goods or running a service like printing and cyber cafes, you have access to a larger customer base. This means that as a young person, DRC can be a potential market to venture into or expand your already existing businesses.
The beauty about entry into DRC is that young Kenyans have access to Kenyan-owned institutions that are already established in the DRC and which are likely to offer support and accelerate the growth of individuals and businesses venturing into the market.
Such institutions include Equity Group a local Kenyan bank with operations in the DRC through EquityBCDC which makes account opening, cross border payments and linking of multiple accounts possible.
In addition, there is also the DRC Kenya Chamber of Commerce which has been set up to bring together local Kenyan entrepreneurs and businesses as well as offer advisory services and market linkages within the DRC.
In addition, the DRC Ministry of Planning, National Investment Promotion Agency (ANAPI) is also well resourced to offer advisory services and to license businesses while Kenya has an embassy in Kinshasa and two consular representative offices in Lubumbashi and Goma enabling easy access to localized services and advise.
Moreover, Jambo Jet, a local Kenyan airline, has also increased its flight schedule to DRC by having two direct passenger flights to Goma on a weekly basis and earlier this year, they also launched a cargo flight increasing the ease of access and exportation into the country.
These are just but a few entities that are helping Kenyans set up in the DRC and excel, a move that should offer great comfort for young people looking to explore cross-border trade and investment opportunities.
Although many of us do not identify DRC as a touristic area, the country boasts of having diverse climatic conditions from the rain forests, the woodland savannahs and beautiful lake and river shores particularly on River Congo and Lake Kivu which combined with DRC’s rich culture and music make the country a potential destination for tourism investment in the region. This means that young people supporting the tourism industry in form of tour guides, hoteliers and entrepreneurs looking to establish tour companies that organize excursions or those looking to establish carnivals and play areas have an opportunity to grow and thrive.
The ascension of DRC opens up the world of possibilities for all of us and encourages us that if we dream it, we can achieve it. If you are a young person and are keen on understanding DRC and what it has to offer, then consult with the right partners and explore your options for penetrating the newest member state of the EAC bloc.
Equity has committed to boost investment in the country with an announcement of USD 100M capital injection in EquityBCDC to enhance Equity’s capacity to fund development projects and large mining & manufacturing companies in DRC.
DRC Entry Requirements
Any foreigner looking to enter DRC will be required to have the following documents:
· A valid national or international passport or other valid travel document with at least 1 blank page
· A valid travel visa, Kenyans are also eligible for visa on arrival
· Yellow fever certificate
· Currency restrictions for entry – 5 million CDF ($5,400)
· Currency restrictions for exit – It is illegal to export CDF
In addition to the above, the entry, exit, residence and movement of foreigners is determined by the following legal regulations:
1. Ordinance Law No. 83-33 of 12th September 1983 relating to the police force for foreigners as amended and supplemented to date
2. Ordinance Law No. 87- 281 of 13th August 1987, implementing Ordinance No. 83-33 of 12th September on the police for foreigners, as amended and supplemented to date
3. Act No. 86-007 of September1986 regulating the residence and movement of foreigners in mining areas