Contributor's Eastern Africa Economics South Sudan

Why South Sudan is Not Qualified to Join the EAC Membership

By Ter Nguth,

Members of East African Community...
Members of East African Community…

Oct 25, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — Before going to the main details of this article, I want the readers to have in mind the brief knowledge on how the EAC was formed, it objectives and why we should not be a member for such an organisations,so let me not bored you. Here is how it was formed.

The EAC is an intergovernmental organisation composed of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. It was formed in 1967, collapsed in 1977 and was revived on July 2000. The question that could come into your mind is, why it collapsed? So one shouldn’t bothered himself/herself for why such a organisation collapse, the simplest answer is,  due to political different, economic motive and who should have the loinshare for the decision making of the organisation the community came to an end and revive it in 2000.

In 2008,after negotiation with SADC (Southern Africa Development community ) and COMESA  (Common Market for East and Southern Africa), the EAC agreed to expand free trade area including the members state.

EAC was formed based on the objective of:

  1. Free trade where by the members state will not impose any trade barriers.
    2. Creation of common market with free movements of labour and capital
    3. Political integration where by the members state will have common law regarding immigration, East Africa court of justices, uniform tourist law and etc.

Base on the above things,is south Sudan ready to join the bloc? So let me leave the question to you as readers. To not bored you, let me briefly explains the east Africa interest in South Sudan as of my observation.

In 2011, the president of Kenya and Rwanda invited the new nation in Africa to apply for membership upon the independence. The question is, why do they hurry for South Sudan to join the community? If one could remember Sudan and Somalia apply for membership of the bloc but turned down. For me the answers are simply and doesn’t need any one to be an economic graduate to see the interest behind that. So let me highlights the following points behind thier invitation.

  1. EAC members are known for high unemployment rate or the access of labour force over the job created by the government so they want thier access labour migrate to South Sudan to get job and work with no any hindrance or challenge, challenge like  visa, costume duties and passport requirements because as the member of the bloc, they should require the young nation to allow easy movement of labour.
  2. South Sudan is seen by its neighboring countries as a dumping ground for thier import this is true becuase the young nation has no any factories which can compete with thier factories which produce and import low quality good as the result, they see south sudan as thier market for thier products.
  3. EAC members want to import thier access capital to South Sudan which will in turn goes back to thier GNP ( which is the gross national production  ) which will in turn increase thier GDP (Gross Domestic products) and boosted thier economy.

Why South Sudan is not qualify to join the EAC members?

There are so many reasons for why South Sudan is not qualify for the membershipof the bloc.  Here are my few point

Illiteracy:  let me guess  or if not 75% of South Sudanese citizens are not educated, i can said guess becuase there is no correct data for the literacy as well as illiteracy rate in the country, so if my rate is not correct you can put your correct rate, for that reason we as South Sudanese could reject that becuase this is what they seen as they want to reduce thier high rate of unemployment by sending thier people to South Sudan and work.

Infrastructure development: South Sudan is lacking behind interm of infrastructure development, as we join the bloc they will be the one doing everthings for us instead for us  doing our things and this would bring dependency.  We can see that from high influx of banking industry, hoteling industry and food industry all were taken by foreigner.

Unemployment: as soon as we join the membership of the EAC,the newly graduate young South Sudanese will not have a room for employment  opportunity as employer will require work experience and better qualification so they will neglect the newly graduate which will result in to high unemployment to the native people. It’s also true that high unemployment rate for youth always lead to high rate of crime as the result, it will also cost government to tackle the rate of crime which is another problem.

Economic dependence: joining EAC will lead to economic dependence foe the new born nation since south sudan has no commodity for which they are best at it’s production. The new born nation will necessarily depend on the EA countries for the supply of commodity which they are not able to produce

Therefore based on my own observation, South Sudan is not in position to join the community bloc because of the following reasons.

  1. We are not in a position to compete with EAC members in all case because they were in business for 20 to 30 years.
    2. We shall not get equal share from the bloc in term of trade as we will be absolutely depending on their imported goods.
    3. Owings to the competition from trade, we shall not be able to protect our infant industry from their well established industry.
    4. It will endanger our economy and political independent as we shall totally depend on them.

The writer is an economist and assistance lecturer in Mikese University of Western Equatoria. He can be reach via ternguth@yahoo.com

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Beek October 25, 2015 at 11:31 pm

Your article is a well written article,that’s why the majority of our people accept the creation of 28 States because most of our population have been let down for years by the-so called Three Regions of South Sudan plus their Khartoum.

Ter October 26, 2015 at 12:19 am

We as South Sudanese shouldn’t be blindfolded by the folks at the top, joining so a thievery community bloc will have long term effects on us.

pete Sudan Gach October 26, 2015 at 8:43 am

The information had nothing to do with 28 state. There are many killings, base on the land taking from one community
to the others. We have someone that had no education, who was allows by the vice president to lead us to the disaster. I would said that if Dr. Riek Machar was able to listen to Dr. John Garage, there would have been no gene-side in South Sudan.
To come to the point, there is no way we would have to related to those country. I know that Uganda president would have not invited us if Dr. John was the leader and that is why they kills Dr.John Garage I said, they I means uneducated Kiir Mardit and Uganda President
Thank you

GatNor October 26, 2015 at 10:05 am

At this particular time yes it does sound great but it would definitely lead to “dependency” of South Sudan economy on its trade partners. I don’t see what the hast is.

The necessary criteria for joining are simply not met by the economic community and institutions of South Sudan. The trade and communal but convenient and smooth business transactions alone would be of major challenge considering the volatility of the environment.

Those who are pushing for this are not exactly considering the nature of this competitive trade market but influencedo by the wealthy few who have looted the country for the last decade and yet do not make up a considerable % of a would be private small business sector.

More than half of the country is a warzone with exception of Bar El Gazhal experiencing minimal stability and a few roads or air service to benefit from the trade but what about the equating a balance economy, can one or two regions do it alone.

I have to say it’s a no go at this early stage nut when peace is realized 5 to 10 years down the road with a bit of development in place then ofcourse.

bolluak October 26, 2015 at 6:12 pm

This article has some interesting insight, I could not disagree once with every argument you present.

John Whan October 26, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Mr. Ter Nguth,
For good or evil, the tenet of the free trade is to make goods and others services pass through easily without restriction or lessen tariffs from the market- to-market to final consumer. Adam Smith published his monumental works, the Wealth of Nation, 1776, Smith advocated the world of abundance and universal opulence, the Smith promised the world to everyone, not only the kings or landlords, but also, the common man. From the dark ages to industrial revolution, the men or women lives in the subsistence level, but with free trade within nation, regional and international, the liberalization of laws and globalization of products raised the living standards across the globe.

The author, Mr. Ter Nguth, mentioned two things as the reasons the south Sudan cannot joined this cooperative communities. (1). illiteracy, since the illiteracy rate is 75% or more or less, the author assumed that “EAC want to reduce their high rate of unemployment by sending their people to South Sudan and work”. If the author is correct or he doubt it, suppose illiteracy is 75%, we would need to invest in human capital, bring the teachers, university professors, accountants, consultants, and bankers from the EAC countries. These will raise the skills of young generations of south Sudanese, who in turn, take the same jobs in ten- to-twenty year times. This mean, the EAC trade has a benefit to south Sudanese in long term development.

(2). Infrastructure development, since the south Sudan is lacking infrastructure it cannot trade with the EAC. The author said, “EAC will be the one doing everything for us instead for us doing our things and this would bring dependency. We can see that from high influx of banking industry, hotelling industry and food industry all were taken by foreigner.”

Even if the south Sudan is not entering the EAC, or not, it is an avoidable depending on our neighbor, Uganda, Kenya and other in the region. We are integrated into global community through world trade and the United Nations. This means, the foreign business owner from the United States, China, and Europeans union will want to invest in the south Sudan and open the small bank, hotels, and even the retailers.

so, we will never exclude those businesses with interest to invest in the south Sudan, as long as, they have less risk to invest in the country. What is needed is, the labor law that demand the foreign companies and non-profit organization to employ the locals, in both labor intensive and professional skills jobs. Foreign investment will raise the living standards and create more jobs for local communities and expand development infrastructures ( roads, bridges, waters transports, airports, health cares centers, canals, etc.).

Unemployment and poverty is ready high in the country. We need bold approach and strategies by the government and private sectors to tackle the unemployment issues in the country.To do this, there is need for the foreign investment in all sectors of the economies and including the agriculture to employ the young workers and increase the food production in the country.

Let say, if the author cited correctly, the objectives of EAC: (1) Free trade where by the members state will not impose any trade barriers. (2). Creation of common market with free movements of labor and capital and
(3). Political integration where by the members state will have common law regarding immigration, East Africa court of justices, uniform tourist law and etc. With requirement, the south Sudan will meet 1 & 2, but 3 is troublesome.

The irony is, the author focus only the negative aspect that the south Sudan is to face in the trade with EAC countries, but did not mention our benefits in the free trade, competitive products to be traded (oils, golds, etc. ), and weakness of the competitors in joining the trade with the south Sudan.

As conclusion, the high rates of illiteracy, low infrastructure development, high unemployment, and including the theory of economic dependency, there is none excluded the south Sudan in joining the cooperative communities of the regional blocs. Among the economists profession about 95% have agreed on the benefits of the economic freedom, trades, and liberalization in general. All countries trades and benefit from it regardless of infrastructure and markets. The United States is high economies in the world, it opens its market to all nations, it benefits and others countries benefits as well, regardless of unfavorable trades or less competitive industries. Therefore, the south Sudan is going to benefit in the EAC free trades, regardless of its infrastructural condition.


Gatgach Gatnor October 27, 2015 at 10:36 pm

Mr.John Whan , you are goo analyze than author who wrote this article.
The most important ( which you already mentioned) for South Sudan to join EAC is strong labour law in South Sudan.
Currently ( in Juba), there are hundreds of unemployed young South Sudanese with Bachelor degrees, and all the jobs, they are suppose to take, were taken by foreigners and South Sudan is not a member in EAC

Let’s predict what will happen if South Sudan join EAC; All young South Sudanese with in sufficient education will be out of the jobs.

My suggestion is, before joining EAC , South Sudan needs to put strong and strict labour code

Eastern October 28, 2015 at 11:47 pm


I suppose you are in the country. The problem private sector or NGOs have with recruiting ‘South Sudanese with Bachelor degrees’ is attitude to work. Most South Sudanese have very poor attitude to work hard in order to earn!

The ‘best labor laws’, for South Sudan will at the end run counter to any foreign investment because prospective investors will be constrained with local labor who are not productive. For instance in Faluj oil field at the moment, foreign workers from Sudan and China are really productive while those from South Sudan are really pain in the side!

The problem we have in South Sudan is not that we are not well schooled so as to be competitive but we some times have very abhorrent attitude to work – a good number of our country men are really unproductive! Walk on many streets of South Sudan, you will see what I am talking about: men, yes, mostly men sitting on plastic chairs ideally under trees and varandahs sipping on tea, smoking shisha, playing cards, etc. These same folks take their meals regularly – breakfast, lunch and diner!! Where do they get the money when they sit for the whole day doing nothing when you see the wewes (the Kenyan, Ugandan, etc) walk the streets of Juba hawking and doing some manual jobs available?

Should jobs just be set aside for South Sudanese lazy bones who don’t even want to be innovative in one way or the other? Should the government be responsible for job creation? Really?

Eastern October 26, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Excellent analysis, John Whan!

Mr Ter Nguth the lecturer from the shadowy Mikese ‘university’ should be advised not to continue to further confuse his economic class!

South Sudan being a landlocked country needs its neighbors more than they need her. This predicament is even made worse by the tribal/cultural practices resulting into poverty, ignorance, etc – leading to poor attitude to work. South Sudanese detest hard work to earn a living. Most ‘dirty’ work in the country is done by foreigners thanks to culture of pride!

South Sudan cannot develop in isolation; it needs others to move on. The resources the country has cannot be put to beneficial use without cooperating with others. The oil resources will remain in the bossom of the country without laying pipelines though friendly neighboring country (ies). The country cannot export/import without its goods passing through friendly countries with an agreeable tariffs. Sudan is hitting South Sudan hard through oil transit fees.

South Sudan needs to join the EAC now than later!


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