Analysis of the Republic of South Sudan's Accession to the East African Community: Benefits, Detriments and Recommendations
40 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2013 Last revised: 26 Mar 2018
Date Written: December 1, 2012
Accession to the East African Community ("EAC") offers many potential benefits for the Republic of South Sudan. For instance, access to ports in Kenya and regional transportation corridors could increase the competitiveness of South Sudanese products. EAC membership could also open up new regional and international markets for South Sudanese products and strengthen South Sudan's negotiating position vis-à-vis non-EAC countries. Moreover, EAC membership may result in knowledge transfer between EAC partner states and increased regional investment. This in turn could promote the development of better domestic infrastructure and generate significant welfare gains. South Sudanese participation in non-economic EAC cooperation programs could also enhance regional security, food security, and natural resource management.
But EAC membership could also have detrimental effects. EAC members are expected to implement a variety of economic and non-economic programs, not all of which may be in South Sudan's interest. For instance, EAC policies like common external tariffs ("CETs") and common investment rules could constrain South Sudan's ability to implement trade and investment promotion policies. In addition, EAC membership may hurt South Sudanese consumers and entrepreneurs through elevated CETs on consumer goods and exposure to regional competition. Additionally, continued use of non-tariff barriers and political resistance in EAC partner states may prevent full realization of the potential positive benefits of EAC membership. Lastly, as seen in the case of the EAC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement, EAC membership could require South Sudan to make trade concessions to non-EAC countries.
As South Sudan appears committed to pursuing EAC membership, it is now necessary to develop a considered negotiation strategy to maximize the potential benefits of integration and mitigate its negative effects. As demonstrated by the Rwanda case study in Part III, this strategy can be implemented through a multi-step process that focuses on determining the positive and negative impact of EAC membership on South Sudan's development and economy, educating local stakeholders, strengthening vulnerable sectors, and mitigating the negative effects of integration.
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