In a bid to enhance cross-border movement of people and goods, South Sudan has said it is ready to begin processing and issuing East African Community (EAC) electronic passport.
According to Mou Mou Athian, the under-secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and East African Affairs, the e-passport is expected to unleash benefits linked to regional integration.
“We are ready to start issuance of the EAC digital passport to our citizens because it is very important to have one society that is governed by a common market protocol,” Athian spoke to journalists in Juba.
Athian said the e-passport will have categories that include diplomatic, service and ordinary and its validity depends on the beholders’ terms though it is set for 10 years validation.
The regional economic gave South Sudan August as the deadline for the country and Rwanda to start issuing their citizens the electronic passports prompting the move.
In 2017, the EAC’s six partner states including South Sudan were directed to start issuing the new East Africa machine readable electronic passports by January but the preparedness of each member state was considered.
South Sudan applied for membership to the EAC as soon as it gained independence from Sudan in 2011. However, its application was declined because of the country’s institutional weakness.
South Sudan was officially admitted to become the sixth member of the EAC in 2016 after President Salva Kiir signed an accession treaty in Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.
Original members of the East African Community included Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda before Rwanda and Burundi joined the bloc a couple of years later.