Kagame calls for admission of Khartoum, Juba Rwanda President Paul Kagame says the risks associated with a bigger trade bloc, should not stop member states from allowing Juba to join EAC. The final decision on whether to allow Sudan to join the EAC is expected to be made by the member countries' presidents, at a Heads of State Summit to be held in Bujumbura, Burundi, next month. President Kagame said the risks associated with a bigger trade bloc, should not stop member states from allowing others to join. Rwanda's President Paul Kagame has supported applications by the two Sudans to join the five-member East African Community. President Kagame said a bigger trade bloc offered more opportunities to regional economies than challenges. "We should be looking at it positively even though we are aware there are problems associated with this expansion," President Kagame said at a press briefing last week. Some member states have privately expressed opposition to Khartoum's application, arguing that the country does not share a common border with any of the EAC states. They are also uncomfortable with Sudan's human-rights record and the fact that the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir for atrocities committed in Darfur. Others, however, are of the view that Sudan can only join the community after South Sudan, which shares borders with Kenya and Uganda. The treaty requires that any country wishing to join the EAC must be in geographical contiguity with other member states. The final decision on whether to allow Sudan to join the EAC is expected to be made by the member countries' presidents, at a Heads of State Summit to be held in Bujumbura, Burundi, next month. President Kagame said the risks associated with a bigger trade bloc, should not stop member states from allowing others to join. "Though bigger and broader integration comes with challenges, it also comes with benefits if you look at it in terms of trade, investment and different capacities," President Kagame said. On integration, the president said the agenda should not be derailed by the current economic crisis affecting the region. Like other trade blocs, the EAC is experiencing a severe economic crisis that has seen the region's currencies depreciate sharply against the dollar, pushing inflation into double digits and threatening the economic stability of the region. "We have to keep doing the best we can for ourselves to achieve stability; and therefore this calls for deeper integration and not less," President Kagame told a press briefing. He said the region's economies, people and businesses were linked and interdependent, adding that member countries cannot afford to relax but must work harder towards integration. While Rwanda was in relatively better shape, the president warned that the country was not fully shielded as the problems affecting its neighbours were likely to spill over in terms of imported inflation. Rwanda is a net importer in the region and large percentage of its imported goods come from the other EAC member states. "We want to put our efforts together with the rest of the region to see what we can do together for our economies," President Kagame said, calling for concerted efforts to deal with the crisis.