South Sudan has been admitted into the East African Community (EAC), increasing the membership of the common market to six with a population of 162 million people.
The 17th Ordinary EAC Heads of State Summit in Arusha, Tanzania, resolved to admit Africa's newest nation into the economic bloc on Wednesday.
“South Sudan is a new member of the EAC,” said the EAC secretariat on its social media site on Wednesday.
A statement from EAC headquarters in Arusha before the announcement showed that the issue was at the top of the agenda at the meeting. It said the leaders would decide “on the negotiations on the admission of South Sudan into the community,” among other issues.
South Sudan now joins Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi and it will be part of the regional integration projects that have been the subject of discussion among member countries.
South Sudan applied for EAC membership soon after gaining its independence from neighbouring Sudan in 2011, upon being invited by the presidents of Kenya and Rwanda.