The East African Community is still mulling to dispatch a team for a verification mission towards accepting Somalia into the Arusha-based EAC.
But now it seems the delegation from Arusha will eventually travel to Mogadishu in February 2023.
It is the directive by the Summit to the Council to follow up on the application by the Federal Republic of Somalia to join the Community.
The EAC Secretary General Dr Peter Mathuki said that the EAC is scheduled to send a verification mission to Somalia, by the end of January 2023 to assess the country’s readiness to join the Community.
Somalia’s long Indian Ocean Red Sea route that links Africa to the Arabian Peninsula is envisaged to be East Africa’s future vibrant economic zone saying that it will bring immense benefits for the EAC.
“The exploitation of Somalia’s blue economy resources such as fish and the expansive coastline is also set to boost the regional economy,” he said.
Meanwhile the Trade among the East African Community Member States is currently clocking USD 10.2 Billion.
The figure, according to the statement from EAC Headquarters in Arusha, seems to be on an upward trajectory, standing at USD 10.17 billion in September 2022.
The intra-EAC trade, accounting for imports and exports in the seven Partner States, has gradually been climbing from 13 percent in 2019 then at a value of USD 7.1 billion to 15 percent in 2021 climbing to USD 9.5 billion.
By September 2022, the EAC trade value was recorded at US$10.17 billion representing a 20% share of Intra-trade to global trade.
The Secretary General for the community, Peter Mathuki attributed the increase in intra-regional trade to political goodwill among the members of the Summit of EAC Heads of State and the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions in the region amongst other factors.
High-level discussions among the Heads of State had eliminated many Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) hampering intra-regional trade and expressed hope that this and other factors would help raise the level of intra-regional trade in East Africa to at least 40 percent over the next five years.
Mathuki disclosed that EAC’s total trade with the rest of the world stood at USD 62 billion, adding that there was still room for improvement.
“More than 257 Non-Tariff Trade Barriers have been cumulatively resolved since 2007. This is in tandem with the bloc’s goal to increase the volumes of intra-regional trade,” he said.
The EAC Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries for Trade and Finance had adopted 35 percent as the 4th Band of the EAC Common External Tariff (CET).
“From the first day of July 2022, imports of locally available goods into the region; such as meat, furniture and textiles, have been attracting a tariff of 35 percent.”
He said the move aims at promoting local production, value addition and industrialization.