The East African Community (EAC) will begin discussing Somalia’s application to join the community from August 22 through September 5. High-ranking representatives from Somalia are expected to meet with senior EAC officials in Arusha to discuss and address urgent issues.
According to a statement released yesterday by the EAC secretariat, the discussions will take place at the Kenya School of Government on the outskirts of Nairobi.
The EAC Secretary-General, Peter Mathuki, stated last week that Somalia had taken a significant step towards joining the bloc as the eighth member.
“Negotiations between the EAC and Somalia on the admission of Somalia into the EAC will commence on Tuesday, August 22,” Mathuki told the media in Arusha.
Currently, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) are all members of the EAC.
“The negotiation stage has been set,” Mathuki said in his address on the ‘State of the EAC’, an update on the ongoing activities of the Arusha-based regional body.
He further stated that after the early 2023 verification mission, there are encouraging signals of the Somali state joining the EAC. EAC Heads of State approved a verification team report in June, granting the Council of Ministers the mandate to initiate talks with Mogadishu.
According to Dr. Abdusalam Omer, the Presidential Special Envoy to the East African Community, conversations would cover all of the EAC’s integration pillars, in line with Somalia’s legal framework.
“This will also include setting the time frame for Somalia to implement and harmonise the laws with those of the region; the way forward for Africa and East Africa is regional integration and opening up markets, as this will help lower the cost of products,” Mr. Omer said.
“There are a lot of things Somalia hopes to gain, but the region also has a lot to gain from Somalia because of its connectivity to the Middle East,” he added,
The report will be presented to the Heads of State Summit later this year by the Council of Ministers, an authoritative body of the EAC.
The East African Community will welcome Somalia as its eighth member state if the summit adopts the report and issues a political declaration.