The leader of the newly admitted member of the East African Community (EAC) will, on Friday, sign on the EAC Treaty allowing his country officially commence active membership, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
“Presidents Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan and Dr John Pombe Magufuli, of Tanzania and the Chairperson of the East African Community Heads of State Summit, are scheduled to sign the Treaty of Accession of the Republic of South Sudan into the East African Community on Friday,” a joint statement from the EAC Secretariat and Tanzania Information Services (TIS) reads in part.
The decision to admit South Sudan as the sixth member of the EAC was agreed during EAC Heads of State Summit in Arusha, Tanzania in March.
The seventeenth Ordinary Heads of State Summit admitted South Sudan to the Community after more than three years of negotiations.
The new EAC member however still needs support to be able to gradually implement all the requisite membership instruments.
Provisions that were part of its admission include a transition period of three years before implementing the Customs Union.
South Sudan was also allowed three years to move toward full implementation of the Common Market Protocol.
South Sudan applied to join the EAC on June 10, 2011, shortly after gaining independence from Sudan.
The admission of Africa’s youngest nation to the EAC means that the bloc’s market size is now 162 million people, up from 145.5 million.
Juba’s bid to join the Community had suffered a setback following the mid December 2013 outbreak of a civil war pitting forces loyal to previously sacked – and now reinstated – Vice-President Riek Machar against those supporting President Salva Kiir Mayardit.
President Kiir has since reappointed Machar as vice president but it still remains to be seen whether the lull in fighting will be sustainable.
Machar is expected to return to the capital Juba for the first time since he fled in December 2013, on April 18, and this is seen as the first real test to the peace agreement signed between Kiir and Machar in August last year.