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South Sudan becomes EAC’s sixth member state

February 3, 2016 (ARUSHA) - The Republic of South Sudan (RSS) was on Wednesday admitted into the East African Community (EAC), increasing the membership of the common market to six with a population of an estimated 163 million people.

The 17th Ordinary session of the EAC Heads of State Summit in Arusha, Tanzania, resolved to admit the young nation into the economic bloc.

“South Sudan is a new member of the EAC,” the EAC secretariat officially announced.

South Sudan’s admission to the EAC ends several years of waiting to join the regional bloc, comprising Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.

Observers say the move was good for the world’s youngest nation, which has been struggling with a crumbling economy following a two-year devastating civil war.

Edmund Yakani, a South Sudanese activist, said South Sudan’s EAC membership offers a new opportunity for engaging directly the government of the member states.

"On the top of our expectation as priority after the admission of South Sudan is the timely and effective implementation of the peace agreement", he said in a statement.

South Sudan applied for EAC membership soon after gaining its independence from Sudan in 2011, but the process of its admission delayed for a number of reasons.

(ST)