Peter Mathuki, the Secretary-General of the East African Community (EAC), has indicated that Somalia is on a pivotal trajectory to become the bloc’s eighth member.
Speaking at a media briefing in Arusha, Tanzania, on Wednesday, the EAC chief highlighted that Mogadishu has progressed to the negotiation phase. He voiced his optimism that Somalia’s inclusion in the bloc would materialize this year.
Upcoming deliberations in Nairobi will prominently feature Somalia’s potential accession as a primary topic of discussion.
Dr. Peter Mathuki, the Secretary-General of the East African Community (EAC), stated,
“The EAC embarked on a verification mission to gauge Somalia’s preparedness to join the community. The findings were discussed and disseminated to all affiliated nations. The dialogue for its inclusion is slated from the 22nd of this month to September 5th.”
Somalia expressed its desire to become a member of the Community in 2012. To evaluate its readiness, the EAC initiated a verification mission on January 25, 2023. The report from this mission was endorsed by the EAC Heads of State in Bujumbura on June 6, 2023. This paved the way for the Council of Ministers and the EAC Secretariat to kickstart discussions with Mogadishu.
EAC’s Foundational Principles
Dr. Abdusalam Omer, previously Somalia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and now the Presidential Special Envoy to the East African Community, informed the EastAfrican that the discussions would encompass all foundational principles of EAC integration, juxtaposing them with Somali regulations and statutes.
He elaborated, “This will also delineate the timeline for Somalia to align and synchronize its laws with the regional standards.”
Dr. Abdusalam further commented on the broader vision,
“The future for both Africa and East Africa lies in regional amalgamation and market expansion, which will invariably reduce product costs. Integration stands as the counterforce to emerging forms of terrorism. Through regional unity and collaboration, we can vanquish terrorism.”
Somalia, neighboring Kenya, boasts Africa’s lengthiest coastline, spanning over 3,000km, bridging Africa with the Arabian Peninsula.
He added, “Somalia stands to gain immensely, but the region too will benefit from Somalia due to its nexus to the Middle East and its expansive diaspora in Europe, America, and beyond.”
Abdullah Ibrahim, a consultant for the Somali government stationed in Nairobi, was among the delegation that aided the EAC verification team in Somalia earlier this year.
The EAC Secretariat’s negotiation findings will be presented to the Council of Ministers for review. Subsequently, the Council will forward the report to the Heads of State Summit later this year.
The Summit is anticipated to endorse the report and issue a political proclamation to welcome Somalia as the East African Community’s eighth member. This will be followed by Somalia signing the accession treaty. Subsequently, Mogadishu will be required to submit the ratification instruments to the EAC Secretariat.