South Sudan joins regional East Africa bloc

2016-03-02 19:15
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Dar es Salaam - War-torn South Sudan was admitted on Wednesday into the regional East African Community (EAC), the bloc said, which works to encourage trade and simplify customs duties between members.

The EAC, based in the Tanzanian town of Arusha, now expands the bloc to six nations, alongside Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Current EAC chair, Tanzanian President John Magufuli, announced South Sudan's membership. With South Sudan's inclusion the EAC now covers over 150 million people.

South Sudan won its independence in 2011 from Sudan after decades of war. Many South Sudanese said they should have joined the East Africa region - rather than being tied to north Sudan - when British colonial rulers left at independence in 1956.

Despite euphoria at independence, South Sudan erupted into civil war in December 2014, setting off a cycle of retaliatory killings that have split the poverty-stricken, landlocked country along ethnic lines.

It is struggling to stem runaway inflation, and many foreign workers from neighbouring nations have fled violence that has seen key cities razed.

Read more on:    eac  |  john magufuli  |  tanzania  |  south sudan  |  east africa

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