South Sudan has officially joined the East African Community (EAC), becoming the sixth member of the regional bloc after Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. By joining the bloc, the Horn of African country opened a new chapter of hope and opportunities in social and economic spheres.
President Kiir thanked the EAC leaders for accommodating him in the regional bloc. He said his country will work hard to see to it that the EAC became a vibrant bloc, adding: “To start with we will form a ministry that will specifically deal with EAC issues. At last, South Sudan has returned home. EAC is its right place and it is a bloc respected the world over”.
South Sudan was admitted to the EAC during the 17th Ordinary Summit of the regional leaders held here on March 2. The world’s newest nation, which gained independence in July 2011 after seceding from Sudan, had applied to join the bloc four years back. Presidents Magufuli, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Burundi Vice-President Joseph Butore endorsed Juba’s application.
The Arusha summit which was attended by all regional leaders of the five partner states, except President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi, designated the Tanzanian leader as the chairman of the community on behalf of other leaders.
EAC has lately attracted countries neighbouring the bloc. Sudan, which for many years administered Juba as an autonomous state, is reported to have applied to join the bloc while Comoros and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have shown willingness.