East Africa

Somali president says country ready to join EAC

MOGADISHU-Somali president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has urged the East African Community [EAC] to fast-track the admission of his country into one of Africa’s dynamic blocs.

President Mohamud said Somalia’s bid to join the EAC has been a delayed dream for its people and government and urged the bloc’s Secretary General, Dr. Peter Mathuki to expedite the process of admission so that his country can be admitted to the bloc as the eighth member after the recent admission of the DR Congo.

He made the call during the maiden visit of Mathuki to Mogadishu. Mathuki formally delivered the 22nd EAC Ordinary Summit’s directive to the council to expeditiously fast-track the verification exercise for Somalia in accordance with the EAC procedures of admission of new countries into the bloc.

“Somalia belongs to the EAC. There is no country among the EAC Partners States that is not linked by business with Somalia and existing historical linkages include language and culture,” said Mohamud.

He told the Mathuki that his country was working tirelessly to remove all the security challenges with the support of some of the EAC member states.  The bloc comprises countries of Burundi, DR Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda are the original members of the bloc founded in 1967.

“We are counting on you Secretary General to send the verification team here in Mogadishu to start the process,” he added.

The Somali leader reiterated the strategic position of his country, saying that the EAC will benefit significantly through increased movement of goods, services, and people across the bloc in addition to expanding intra-regional trade with the already established Somali businesses in the region.

President Mohamud said that Somalia’s long Indian Ocean Red Sea route that links Africa to the Arabian Peninsula was a vibrant economic zone, adding that the exploitation of Somalia’s blue economy resources such as fish and the expansive coastline would boost the regional economy.

On his part, Dr. Mathuki commended the desire of Somalia to join the EAC and assured its leader that the secretariat would do its part to make sure that Somalia’s admission process is expeditiously fast-tracked in accordance with the EAC procedure for admission of new members into the EAC.

Mathuki told the president that after his maiden visit, the EAC secretariat would write to Partner States to request for nominations for members to constitute the EAC verification team. The team, he said, would comprise three experts from each Partner State and officials from the secretariat.

In addition, upon the receipt of the names from the Partner States, the secretariat will submit the names to the Council for approval to conduct the exercise.

Mathuki assured the president of his total commitment to leading the process of admission of Somalia into the EAC as directed by the Summit.

Somalia made its application to join the EAC in 2012. Since its application, the matter has been pending due to various reasons.

The EAC Secretariat wrote to the Somali government on November 12, 2018, proposing a working visit on November 20, 2018, by a team from the Secretariat to Somalia. The purpose of the working visit was for the Secretariat to meet the relevant authorities from Somalia and agree on, among other things, the way forward towards holding a verification exercise.

Somalia on its part communicated back on November 17, 2018, informing the Secretariat that the timing for the working visit was not conducive then and that an alternative date was to be agreed upon by the parties.

The 22nd Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State observed that the verification exercise for the admission of Somalia into the EAC had not been undertaken and directed the EAC Council of Ministers to expeditiously fast-track the verification exercise in accordance with the EAC procedures for admission of new members and report to the 23rd Ordinary Meeting of the Summit.


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