South Sudan joins EAC

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South Sudan, the youngest nation in the world, has finally joined the East African Community after years of lobbying.

The entry of South Sudan brings the number of EAC member countries to six and an expanded economic bloc.

The expanded economic bloc gives business community and travellers several opportunities as red tapes and duties will be reduced on import and export of products in South Sudan.

The youngest nation that gained independence from Sudan had been unable to join the EAC because it had not met some of the conditions that had been set.

For instance, South Sudan was accused of bad governance and human-rights records as a result of the ongoing war pitting the government forces against rebels led by former vice-president Dr Riek Machar.

Under Custom Union Protocol, South Sudan is expected to waive visa requirements for East Africans travelling to Juba. Currently, East African are charged visa fee of $100 to enter South Sudan and all aliens are required to register within 72 hours upon entry. Common Market Protocol also dictates that goods and services will now move freely between Juba and other EAC member countries.

During the heads of state summit held in Arusha, Burundi also assumed the chair of the EAC for a period of one year. Bujumbura will also take of Secretary General’s position in April when Dr Ricahrd Sezibera’s term ends.

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