The Minister in Charge of East Africa Affairs, Monique Mukaruliza has announced that reviewing North Sudan’s application to join the bloc is among the top items for the 13th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State, that kicks off Wednesday in Bujumbura, Burundi.
“Both, North and South Sudan applied to join EAC but the Khartoum government’s application came in before, which is why it will be reviewed first,” Mukaruliza said.
Although Khartoum lacks proximity with other EAC member states to allow for sharing of services, the minister said that there are procedures that the Heads of State will have to look at before endorsing Sudan.
Mukaruliza added that during the Bujumbura Summit, there will be a change of Chairmanship from the current chair, Burundi to Kenya while Rwanda will take over the position of rapporteur for a period of one year.
“A report of the Council of Ministers will also be presented to the Presidents,” said the minister, adding that, a report that addresses fears within the EAC partner states on the formation of the political federation has been finalised by a group of experts to be presented to the summit.
The journey towards the EAC political federation was, last year, riddled with concerns over its probable number of future member states.
According to the Minister, the report addresses the concerns and paves way for discussions on systems of governance the EAC partner states would adopt.
“From that report, the Presidents will give us a way forward towards the realisation of a political federation,” Mukaruliza added.
EAC partner States will forming a single customs authority and part of the Presidents’ agenda is look at the progress report towards the establishment of a one customs authority.
The formation of a one customs authority aims at collecting revenues on behalf of member countries at borders. Officials say the initiative would eliminate non-tariff barriers.