The 17th Ordinary Summit of the East African Community (EAC) Heads of State held in Arusha, Tanzania on Wednesday formally admitted South Sudan to the bloc.
Africa’s youngest nation becomes the sixth member of the East African Community.
The other members are Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.
Just months after attaining her independence from Sudan, South Sudan applied for membership of the EAC in 2011 while Somalia applied in February 2012.
The application was however deferred twice; first in April 2011 and then in November the same year.
According to a communiqué issued at the end of a Nairobi summit, EAC needed to conduct more negotiations with Juba after a progress report on South Sudan’s admissibility was presented to leaders of member states.
The summit also endorsed Tanzania President Pombe Magufuli to continue sitting as EAC chairman for another year.
The EAC Heads of State also launched the new international East African E-passport to commence from 1st January 2017.
Also during the summit, Burundian Liberat Mfumukeko was sworn –in as the new Secretary General, replacing Dr. Richard Sezibera whose five year term ends in April.
Dr. Libérat Mfumukeko has been the Deputy Secretary General of the East African Community in charge of Finance and Administration.
He joined the EAC from another position of leadership – Director General, Burundi Water and Electricity Utility, the last position he held prior to his appointment as Deputy Secretary General. Prior to joining the EAC, Mfumukeko also held the Chairmanship of the Steering Committee of the East African Power Pool.
Dr. Mfumukeko brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his new position, with vast international experience including the establishment of the Burundi Investment Promotion Authority in 2009.
The Deputy Secretary General boasts international, intercultural and linguistic skills, with fluency in French, English, Kirundi, Kiswahili and Russian as well as having worked in France, Russia, USA, DR Congo, Rwanda, Ivory Coast and Cameroon.
Story By Catherine Ageno