East African Community (EAC) electronic passport - (copyright) https://immigrationtanzania.blogspot.com

JUBA, June 12 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan said Tuesday that it is ready to start processing and issuing East African Community (EAC) electronic passport to enhance cross-border movement of people and goods.

Mou Mou Athian, the under-secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and East African Affairs, said 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 told journalists in Juba.

He 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 move came after the regional economic bloc set August as the deadline for South Sudan and Rwanda to start issuing their citizens the electronic passports.

Last year, 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.

In 2016, South Sudan was officially admitted to become the sixth member of the EAC after President Salva Kiir signed an accession treaty in Tanzania's commercial capital, Dar es Salaam.

The East African Community was originally formed by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda before Rwanda and Burundi joined the bloc a couple of years later.

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