As the world’s youngest democracy, South Sudan faces an immense number of economic, political, and social challenges. Shortly after gaining independence from the Republic of Sudan in 2011, South Sudan applied to join the East African Community (EAC) when H.E. General Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of the Republic of South Sudan, signed a note verbale.

Given the EAC’s broad remit (which includes peace and security, human rights, market access, trade facilitation, and economic governance) membership would provide South Sudan with extensive support in various aspects of the nation-building process. In supporting the economy of South Sudan’s diversion from oil-dependency, membership to the EAC Common Market gives South Sudan greater access to a significant, geographically close-by market, increases the export potential, the availability of cost-effective imports from the region and reduces trade costs.

In August 2013 the EAC Council of Ministers passed a resolution establishing a High-Level Negotiations Team to carry out the accession negotiations with South Sudan. The following year, President Mayardit signed a decree to establish a High-Level Committee to negotiate South Sudan’s accession to the EAC.

Working with TradeMark East Africa to support the accession process, Imani Development provided technical assistance to the Republic of South Sudan’s negotiations between between 2014 and 2016 (South Sudan was successfully admitted to the EAC in April 2016). In parallel with numerous technical support, capacity building, advisory, and outreach activities undertaken during this assignment, a comprehensive Legal and Economic Assessment of South Sudan’s Possible Accession to the East African Community was prepared by assignment Team Leader and Director of Imani Development, Dr. Nicholas Charalambides.

The study provides an assessment of the regulatory and economic aspects of South Sudan joining the EAC, focusing on the economic acquis communautaire. It is important to note that the collapse of the Unity government and the renewed conflict means that many of the opportunities and challenges from accession identified are, at present, largely academic. However, when this young nation moves towards peace, the need to realise economic opportunities in the regional markets and from regional integration will be pressing.

Download the full study here: Legal and Economic Assessment of South Sudan’s Possible Accession to the East African Community (2017), tralac.