EAC Admits South Sudan As New Member And Announces Electronic Passport In 2017 During Last Summit In Arusha

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During the 17th Ordinary East African Community (EAC) Heads of State Summit recently realized in Arusha, Tanzania, member countries reviewed and agreed on 24 fields about politics, economy and development among which the admission of the Republic of South Sudan as an EAC member and the issuance of an EAC electronic passport from January, 2017, were the highlights.

The summit focused on the reviewing of the submission from South Sudan to be country member, of the Model, Structure and Action Plan of the EAC Political Federation, the framework for the implementation of harmonized EAC roaming charges, promotion of the bloc’s trade, and the promotion of motor vehicles, textile and leather industries in the region to reducing second hand imports.

Regarding the promotion of the bloc’s trade, heads of state agreed on launching the new East African e-passport from January 1st, 2017 and implement the project in all country members up to December 31st, 2018, that was announced in October, 2015, by Tanzania’s Immigration Department.

According to an African online media, the new e-passport is said to be highly secured and difficult to replicate in comparison with current passports since it counts with an Automated Fingerprint Verification System (AFIS) and an electronic chip that is encoded with all owner’s information as name, surname, date of birth, and sex, therefore, it protects the owner from imposters while collaborating with passengers clearance.

Regarding the new member country, South Sudan, the summit reviewed reports on negotiations for the country’s admission that started in November, 2014, and concluded with its admission after the consensus of all heads of states which make it able to benefit from regional infrastructure projects to enhance its transport network that is one of the main constraints of development.

Finally, regarding promotion of the textile industry, heads of state agreed on working towards a vertically integrated industry in the textile and leather sectors to enhance quality and supply capacity with the aim of completely stop imports of second hand products within the next three years.

The Ordinary East African Community Heads of States Summit is a yearly event that takes place at the EAC headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania, and that this year was attended by Presidents from Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya, while Burind and South Sudan were represented by their respective vice presidents.