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EAC’s expansion timely

Thursday March 3 2016

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The admission of South Sudan as the sixth member of the East African Community is a significant development.

It is a welcome expansion of the market of what has been touted as perhaps Africa’s best economic bloc.

With the inclusion of South Sudan, there will be a marked enlargement of a market that has been painstakingly put together and which will now command a population of 162 million.

Besides the common market, the EAC is working on a monetary union and has a political federation as its ultimate goal.


Though some progress has been made, it has not been without challenges.


First, the original community collapsed amid mutual suspicion and leadership wrangles in 1977 and was only revived in 1999, with the leaders presumably wiser and ready to confront any new obstacles.

But it has not been all rosy. There are still serious differences among the partner states on how to roll out the common market.

There are hindrances to trade and the dream of free movement of labour remains just that.

South Sudan has, hopefully through the long wait for admission, reflected on the benefits of the bloc.

The country is grappling with internal conflicts and must endeavour to put its house in order as it joins its neighbours in forging integration for mutual benefit.