South Sudan has cleared its debts to the East African Community (EAC), according to a statement by its government.
The country, which joined the bloc in 2016, said it has paid $7 million to the EAC, covering both the arrears and the current 2023–24 financial year.
The statement did not specify when the country paid its previous dues, which amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars.
Finally, South Sudan pays EAC 7000,000 pic.twitter.com/BFj4i0CTT9
— Sheila Ponnie (@PonnieSheila) November 10, 2023
The announcement comes ahead of the 23rd Ordinary EAC Summit, where South Sudan President Salva Kiir will take over as the new chair of the regional body.
The Summit, which is the supreme organ of the community, will be held at the Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge near Arusha on November 23 and 24.
📌 EAC Heads of State are set to convene for the 23rd Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State.
🗓️ 24th November, 2023
— East African Community (@jumuiya) November 13, 2023
This will be the first time for Mr. Kiir, whose country has been plagued by civil war, to lead the seven-nation bloc.
He will succeed President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi, who became the Chair in July 2022.
Earlier, the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) warned that countries that fail to pay their mandatory contributions could face sanctions, such as being barred from hosting any regional events or getting any jobs in the EAC institutions.
The Eala passed a motion by Kenyan lawmaker Godfrey Maina Mwangi and seconded by Tanzanian lawmaker Abdullah Hasnuu Makame, urging the partner states to honour their financial obligations.
Article 132(4) of the EAC Treaty states that the budget of the Community shall be funded by equal contributions by the partner states and the remainder by the development partners.
As of last week, only Tanzania and Kenya had paid their contributions in full, while Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi had paid partially. There was no information on the contributions from DR Congo, the newest member.
The EAC has a budget of $103.8 million for the 2023–24 financial year, the highest in four years.
Each of the seven member states is expected to contribute about $7 million to $8 million.