South Sudan achieved a new milestone on Friday, April 15, 2016 as the country was formally admitted into the East African Community (EAC).
Tanzanian President, Dr. John Pombe Magufuli, who is also the Chairperson of the East African Community Heads of State Summit, on April 15 signed the Treaty of Accession of the republic of South Sudan into the East African Community, in the presence of South Sudan’s President, Salva Kiir.
The signing of the treaty will now see Southern Sudan officially become a member in the regional integration bloc.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Dr. Magufuli noted that the entry of South Sudan into the East African community was for the benefit of the entire region. He directed the EAC Secretariat to urgently develop a roadmap for fast-tracking the integration of the Republic of South Sudan into the EAC. On his part, President Kirr thanked the Summit of EAC Heads of State for admitting his country into the East African Community.
EAC membership and benefits
The East African Community (EAC) is the regional intergovernmental organization of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
The EAC is strongly working towards a united, coherent market place, which will enable members to do business in a single market with around 140 Million people.
Ethiopia and Sudan are also expected to join the trading bloc.
Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda linked their Real Time Gross Settlement systems, which mean that a major barrier to the flow of capital has been dealt with. If you trade in the region through your local accounts you now do not need third parties for currency exchange. So when you are in Uganda for example, you don’t have to use a third party such as a Forex bureau or a commercial bank to first buy Kenyan currency or US dollars in order to pay an invoice in Kenya.
Cargo that has to be moved between the ports is a major headache to anyone trading in the region. Trucks driving between Kigali (Rwanda) and Mombasa (Kenya) have to pass 47 road blocks.
However things are visibly improving: Tanzania has launched electronic cargo systems around the region to significantly reduce the number of weighbridges and roadblocks with the entry of the Single Customs Territory. Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya are working on expanding the system.
East African states progressed even further with the official launch of the East Africa Exchange (EAX) in Kigali, Rwanda.
The regional commodity exchange connects buyers and sellers throughout East Africa and creating easier access to intra-African and global markets.
Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda now have a single joint visa in a bid to boost tourism revenues and other business links.
Much more is in discussion in the East African Community including the establishment of cheap regional airlines offering more affordable flight deals and some are calling for cheaper regional telephone rates.
– Wamoyi. M. M., AfricanQuarters, Kenya