In their Extra-ordinary summit, the East African Community Heads of State approved the decision to have the Democratic Republic of Congo join the EAC fold.
The virtual summit meeting was attended by Presidents, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, the current EAC Chairperson; Samia Suluhu of Tanzania, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
Others were Prosper Bazombaza, the Vice President of Burundi and Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin the South-Sudan’s Minister of Presidential Affairs, both representing their respective heads of state.
An official communique from the Summit, affirmed the inclusion of DR Congo into the East African Community.
But while Congo-Kinshasa becomes the seventh member to the Arusha-pivoted community, there is still a letter which North Sudan wrote in 2011, requesting to join the bloc and that was long before even South Sudan expressed interest to be member of the EAC.
Khartoum, apparently, had appealed to become member of the East African Community through an official application sent to Arusha back in November 2011, but the country was asked to hold on a bit, until its Juba neighbor, South-Sudan joined.
“North Sudan’s application was turned down because among the requirements for a country to become an affiliate state of the community is for it to share a common border with any of the already existing members,” that was the official explanation from the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
During their ordinary Summit of that year, the then EAC Heads of State rejected Sudan’s application because it failed largely to meet one criterion for the admission of a new Partner State into the Community, namely…
… Geographical proximity to and interdependence between the aspiring country and the Partner States.
Since Khartoum now shares a border with the Republic of South Sudan (RSS), which is already a member of the EAC the country qualifies to join the East African Community.
However, North Sudan needs to make fresh application since the situation has very much changed since then.
On the other hand..
“The requirement for geographical proximity and other criteria notwithstanding, admission of a new country into the EAC is the prerogative of the Summit of Heads of State. It is also up to any country that wants to join the Community to make its own decision on the matter. It is not the policy of the Community go out soliciting would be members to join bloc.”
Somalia, on the horn of Africa also wants to be part of the community.