South Sudan, Sudan and the East African Community: Potential of Enhanced Relationships
Since the independence of South Sudan both the South and the North face an even more urgent need to diversify their economies beyond oil. They also need to diversify their international partnerships. Despite the agreement of the North and South to continue to intensify their partnership, in practice mutual distrust sets narrow limits, at least in the short term. In this context, both Sudans have reached out to East Africa. While South Sudan has long sympathized with the region and is actively pursuing membership in the EAC, economic problems have also put pressure on the North, so much so that it has in fact also applied for membership. This paper discusses the economic and political implications for the two Sudans, as well as for the EAC, concerning their potential EAC membership, both in the short and long term. For all sides, there would be clear economic and political benefits, however there are equally challenges and risks, particularly in the short term. The article discusses the reasoning behind regional integration, followed by a brief overview of the situation in each of the Sudans and the EAC. This provides the basis for the discussion on the prospects of memberships for either or both of the Sudans in the EAC in the final section. The conclusion provides some recommendations.