The 7th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State began on 2nd March. At the Summit, South Sudan was finally admitted into the bloc.
A statement released by the EAC said;
“The Summit received a report of the council on the negotiations for the admission of the republic of South Sudan into the East African Community and decided to admit the republic of South Sudan as a member of the EAC. The Summit designated the chairperson of the summit to sign the treaty of accession with the republic of South Sudan.”
Since it’s independence from the republic of Sudan in 2011, South Sudan which has been plagued with a myriad of social and economic issues has aspired to be a member of the East African Community bloc.
The criteria for becoming a partner state of the EAC involves the acceptance of adherence to the treaty, compliance to the principles good governance such as democracy, the rule of law, observance of human rights and social justice. The treaty also requires partner states to have “geographical proximity to and inter-dependence between it and the Partner States”, a free market economy, and policies that are in sync with the rules of the treaty, as well as practicing “equal opportunities, gender equality as well as recognize, promote and protect rights in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”
South Sudan was delayed ascension to the bloc as a result of the partner states perception of the country as weak as a result of is human rights violations, lack of democracy, rule of law, transparency, etc.
The Foreign Minister of South Sudan, Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin was at the Summit to witness the admittance of the country into the bloc. The minister who was optimistic about the new development said;
“You know we are members of the U.N., we are members of IGAD, we are members of Northern Corridor, we are members of Great Lakes Region. So why can’t we become members of the East African Community?”
South Sudan becomes the sixth member of the economic bloc, along with Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.