South Sudan's Entry into the East African Community: Prospects and Challenges
Zambakari, Christopher. 2012. "South Sudan's Entry into the East African Community: Prospects and Challenges." Africa Policy Journal 8:27-29.
4 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2019 Last revised: 26 Jun 2019
Date Written: February 18, 2012
On July 09, 2012, the Republic of South Sudan celebrated its first year anniversary. The previous year, on November 11, 2011, it submitted an application to formally join the East African Community (EAC), a regional organization consisting of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, and Tanzania. South Sudan, a landlocked country in East Africa, emerged from four decades of war that cost the lives of more than two-and-half million people. It has an estimated population of 8,260,490 with the majority (83 percent) constituted by rural peasants, nomadic communities, pastoralist and farmers. Citizens of South Sudan depend on farming and animal husbandry for their livelihood. The Government of the Republic of South Sudan (GRSS) is attempting to build a developmental state in the face of ethnic violence that poses an existential threat and undermines the process of nation-building. Amidst the many outstanding challenges and aspirations facing the new Republic, is a campaign to include South Sudan in the EAC.
The task of reviewing the case of South Sudan was delegated to the Council of Ministers, the decision-making body of the EAC,responsible for determining whether a country complies with the requirements. This essay analyzes prospects and development challenges facing South Sudan and exposes the problems embedded in its quest for membership in the EAC. The issues that will constrain EAC’s attempt to build a common monetary union and political federation will be discussed. In particular, two issues will be highlighted: the relationships between the market and society, and between land and citizenship. In order to become an EAC member state, a country must adhere to a series of standards such as principles of good governance, democracy, rule of law, social justice, and respect for human rights.
The development challenges facing South Sudan include at least the following: the “absence of good infrastructure and skilled labor, heavy dependency on oil revenues, and corruption.” In addition, the majority of civil servants lack formal education and training as a result of decades of war. Institutional weakness is furthermore exacerbated by problems of violence, unemployment, illiteracy, extreme poverty affecting predominantly women and youth and an inflow of refugees and internally displaced persons. A report by the African Development Bank (AfDB) noted that “Infrastructure services are virtually non-existent in many parts of South Sudan. Its dilapidated infrastructure constitutes a formidable barrier to economic development and hinders economic diversification, inclusive private sector-led growth and productive employment.
Keywords: South Sudan, East Africa Economic Community, EAC, Development, Land, Economic, Trade, Trade bloc, Africa, Sudan
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