The East African Community (EAC) has lauded Kenya’s decision to waive visa requirement for South Sudan citizens.
EACC secretary general 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 Mathuki.
Mathuki also commended 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,” Mathuki said.
He urged 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.
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.
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.
Rwanda and Tanzania are the other members of the bloc that have also waived visa requirements for South Sudanese citizens.