Africa’s newest nation has now become the sixth country member after Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda of the East Africa community (EAC) a regional intergovernmental organization which provides for a common market and a custom union.
The inclusion of South Sudan follows the invitation by Kenya and Rwanda in 2011 and was considered an applicant country in the same year.
South Sudan which has vast reserves of crude oil becomes East Africa’s first oil producing nation as Kenya and Uganda continue with efforts to erect necessary infrastructure and laws. Tanzania another member is already using its natural gas for electricity production.
South Sudan’s membership will also boost the LAPSSET infrastructure project which has recently been thrown into limbo following a recent signing of an oil pipeline agreement between Ethiopia and Djibouti as well as Uganda and Tanzania which were considered among pillar projects.
South Sudan has been seeking alternative routes to the current Khartoum route as there remains conflict over transit fees.
In January Khartoum said they were preparing for a possible oil production shutdown by the South Sudan.
As of independence South Sudan was producing 500,000 barrels of oil daily an amount that has significally dropped to just below 170,000 barrels due to conflict.
According to the World Bank Africa’s 55th country South Sudan is ranked the world’s most oil reliant country.
The admission of South Sudan now drives the blocs total population to 162 million people (10th largest population in the world, if considered a single entity) with a total gdp of $310 billion.
Other countries hoping to enter the bloc include Sudan and Somalia. Tanzania has also expressed interest in inviting Malawi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Zambia to join the EAC.