Trade, EAC and WTO accession: Pro-growth options

As the world’s newest nation, South Sudan is currently considering various options for the trade strategy it would like to pursue and that would support economic growth for the country. Within the region, South Sudan has decided to actively engage in accession talks with the East African Community (EAC). These talks commenced in November 2014 and have been relatively accelerated, indicating positive commitment from all sides. The final decision on South Sudan’s accession status is set to made on the 2 March 2016 at the EAC Heads of State Summit in Arusha, Tanzania.

As South Sudan negotiated accession, it had to include all existing EAC protocols. There is a need to understand the implications of acceding to each of these protocols as well as the domestic reforms that need to take place. This includes the Monetary Union Protocol and although at the regional level negotiations are progressing quickly, policymakers still do not fully understand the full costs and benefits of this path to integration. Additionally, there will still be a lot of questions that need to be addressed domestically.

Outside the region, South Sudan is also considering pursuing observer status and commencing full accession negotiations with the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO governs the majority of world trade and therefore joining could provide a number of advantages for South Sudan. However, the negotiations are lengthy and costly, amongst other potential disadvantages of pursuing accession at this stage.

Therefore, as South Sudan continues to consider its options for its trade strategy at a regional and global level, this project will support the analysis of options and provide a set of considerations that the government of South Sudan can take into account.

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