The world’s newest sovereign state, South Sudan, has joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

The country has been collaborating with the two organisations since before its split from Sudan in July 2011, but finance minister Kosti Manibe Ngai completed the memberships in official signing ceremonies on 18 April, AFP reported.

South Sudan has become the 188th member country of the IMF, giving it access to technical assistance and loans from the Washington-based financial institution.

The IMF is coordinating with donors including the European Union to set up an $11m trust fund to support South Sudan’s economy over the next four years. The signing comes amid clashes with Sudan as the two countries stake claims over the Heglig oil field, the northern country’s most important oil asset.

South Sudan owns about 75 per cent of the former combined country’s oil reserves, but has yet to build its own infrastructure for export.

Reports indicate that French oil major Total is in discussions with South Sudan’s government over oil exploration activities in Jonglei state.