The East African Community (EAC) has hailed the decision by the Republic of Kenya to waive the requirement of obtaining a visa to enter Kenya for the citizens of the Republic of South Sudan holding a valid passport issued by the Government of South Sudan.
The EAC Secretary General, Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki, said that the move was in line with the decision announced by the Chair of the EAC Heads of State, H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta, during the 21st Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held on 27th February, 2021.
“This demonstrates the goodwill among the EAC Heads of State in promoting regional integration and revamping relations, which is set to boost intra-EAC trade,” said Dr. Mathuki.
Other Partner States that have also waived visa requirements for South Sudanese citizens are the Republic of Rwanda and the United Republic of Tanzania.
Dr. Mathuki lauded the Republic of South Sudan, which has in the spirit of reciprocity also waived visa requirements for Kenyans, Rwandans and Tanzanians wishing to visit the country.
“This is a positive step towards realizing the gains of the Protocol on Establishment of the EAC Common Market and a win for the Community. It is set to expand trade and investment opportunities and scale up economic and social progression across the bloc,” he said.
Article 10 of the EAC Common Market Protocol states that citizens of EAC Partner States are at liberty to accept employment within the territories of Partner States other than their own.
“The EAC Secretariat urges Partner States that have not yet waived visa requirements for South Sudanese citizens to expedite the negotiations with the Republic of South Sudan in line with the provisions of the Common Market Protocol on free movement of persons and workers,” said Dr. Mathuki.
Article 7 of the EAC Common Market Protocol stipulates that ‘EAC Partner States shall ensure non‐discrimination of the citizens of the other Partner States based on their nationalities by ensuring entry of citizens of the other Partner States into the territory of the Partner State without a visa and free movement of persons who are citizens of the other Partner States within the territory of the Partner State.’
It further outlines that, ‘EAC citizens are allowed to stay in the territory of a Partner State and exit without restrictions.’
The waiver of visa requirements by Partner States for South Sudanese citizens and vice versa will further promote the free movement of persons, labour and services, which will in turn step up cross-border trade in line with the EAC 2020/2021 budget theme of promoting private sector growth and trade development within the region.
About the East African Community Secretariat:
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of six Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.