South Sudan has been accepted into the East African Community (EAC) ranks, increasing membership of the bloc to six with an estimated population of 162 million people.
The four-year-old state was admitted following the 17th Ordinary East African Community Heads of State Summit in Arusha, Tanzania and the move is seen as a way of helping consolidate the stability of the region through trade.
“South Sudan is a new member of the EAC,” said the EAC secretariat on its social media site on Wednesday.
The EAC previously had Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Burundi, who have worked to develop and facilitate trade among its members.
South Sudan became independent from Sudan in July 2011 but plunged into a civil war in 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his vice President Riek Machar of plotting a coup.
The war has severely affected the country’s economy: inflation, the collapse of its currency, and a reduction of over 50% of its oil production – by far its main resource – since independence.
Job seekers from neighboring countries like Kenya have fled the nation as more than 2.3 million people have abandoned their homes while thousands have lost their lives.