A verification mission from the East African Community has been dispatched to assess the Federal Republic of Somalia’s readiness to become the eighth member of the EAC.
The delegation from Arusha combines experts from the seven East African Community Partner States. The team is chaired by Mrs Tiri Marie Rose from Burundi.
They will be in Somalia between January 26 and February 3, 2023, to establish the country’s level of conformity with the criteria for admitting foreign countries as provided in the EAC Treaty.
Community Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki says that the technical team in Mogadishu will engage Somalia to ensure that the verification was finalized, and a report completed in time.
It will be presented to the EAC Council of Ministers for discussions before its consideration by the Summit of Heads of State at the end of February 2023.
Somalia’s development strategies and plans in key areas of collaboration including infrastructure, energy, education and science, peace and security, and international cooperation come under microscope.
“Somalia has the longest national coastline of over 3,000 kilometers in Africa, linking Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, which the region will tap into to increase intra-regional trade,” Mathuki figures.
Somalia’s status in international law and the country’s readiness to join the EAC Customs Union, Common Market Protocol, Monetary Union and ongoing political confederation Constitutional Framework are among other areas of review.
The country shares borders with one EAC country, Kenya, and has strong historical, linguistic, economic and socio-cultural links with other Partner States.
Somalia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Abshir Omar believes his country will benefit greatly because of the free movement of people from Somalia and other countries without a visa, if they are fully in the EAC.
“The Somalis started integrating with their brothers and sisters of the region way before the request of formalizing the decision of joining the EAC,” he said.
Abdulsalam Omer, the Special Envoy of the President of Somalia to EAC, reaffirms President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s appeal calling on EAC to expedite the process of admission.
“Somalia will benefit significantly through the increased movement of goods, services and people across the bloc in addition to expanding intra-regional trade. Further, the exploitation of Somalia’s blue economy resources such as fish will boost the regional economy,” he said.
The Federal Republic of Somalia made its application to join the EAC in 2012. Since its application, the matter has been pending due to various reasons.
The 22nd Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State observed that the Verification Exercise for the Admission of the Federal Republic of Somalia into the Community had not been undertaken.
Summit directed the Council to expeditiously fast-track the verification exercise in accordance with the EAC Procedures for admission of New Members into the EAC and report to the 23rd Ordinary Meeting of the Summit.
Under the Treaty, the Criteria for the admission of new countries into the Community include: acceptance of the Community as set out in the Treaty; adherence to universally acceptable principles of good governance, democracy and the rule of law.
Others include observance of human rights and social justice; potential contribution to the strengthening of integration within the East African region, geographical proximity to and inter-dependence with other EAC Partner States.