South Sudan has been admitted as the 6th Country in EAC today thereby increasing the East African Community market to 162 million people, according to reports.
As the youngest East African country, South Sudan was admitted Wednesday at the ongoing 17th Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State in Arusha Tanzania.
According to the treaty establishing the EAC, new members are admitted if they respect the principles of democracy, rule of law, accountability, transparency and social justice.
The treaty also says the countries must, besides being geographically near any of the existing members, practice "equal opportunities, gender equality as well as the recognise, promote and protect rights in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights."
South Sudan applied to join the EAC soon after it gained independence in July 2011.
That year, the community rejected the application of Khartoum, citing its poor democratic record, religious freedom and open gender discrimination.
For South Sudan, the process also stalled due to what diplomats said was the country's institutional weakness.
However, after negotiations, EAC summit of heads in Kampala recommended that Juba's application be speeded up for a possible admission before the end of 2014.
However, this never happened because the country plunged into a brutal civil war.
But the process resumed last year even as the UN, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch accused the government and rebels of committing war crimes.
Last month, Juba defended its desire to join the community, arguing that issues of democracy and human rights could be grown within the EAC.
At the ongoing summit former Tanzanian president Benjamin William Mkapa was appointed new facilitator of the ongoing Burundi negotiations to replace Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni.
The summit also appointed Mr Liberat Mfumukeko from Burundi as the new Secretary General (S.G) effective next month.
Source: All Africa