Knock! Knock! Somalia Brings More Sea into East Africa

The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud seems impatient to have Mogadishu join the ‘Big Seven,’ in Arusha.

He is thus urging the East African Community to speed up the process so that his country could rapidly be admitted into the regional bloc.

President Mohamud said Somalia has been kept waiting in the wings for more than a decade now.

“This is a delayed dream for the people of Somalia,” he maintains, pressing the East African Community Secretary General, Peter Mathuki, to expedite the process of admission.

Once accepted Somalia will become the eighth country joining the Arusha-based community.

Other members include the founding three, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. There is also Rwanda, Burundi and South-Sudan.

The Democratic Republic of Congo which joined in early 2022 is the newest and biggest EAC member.

As the delegation from the East African Community Secretariat in Arusha led by Dr Mathuki makes a maiden visit to Mogadishu, it is clear that Somalia may soon make it into the fold.

The Secretary General formally delivered the EAC Ordinary Summit’s directive to the Council to fast-track the verification exercise for Somalia.

 “Somalia belongs to the East African Community. 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 President Mohamud.

 The president believes the Community 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.

Between the Horn and the Deep Blue Sea

 Somalia, which is also the ‘Horn of Africa,’ boasts a long Indian Ocean Red Sea route that links Africa to the Arabian Peninsula.

The stretch is a vibrant economic zone. On the other hand, the exploitation of Somalia’s blue economy resources and the expansive coastline would boost the East African economy.

Somalia, apparently, has the longest coastline in Africa, measuring 3333 kilometres in Total. It stretches from the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Guardafui Channel to the northeast and the Indian Ocean to the east. Kenya has 1420 kilometres of the Indian Ocean shoreline while Tanzania adds another 800 kilometres. With Mogadishu on board, the East African Community will boast a whooping 5550 kilometres stretch of the coastline.

Secretary General Mathuki commended the desire of Somalia to join the EAC, assuring the president that the EAC ensures that the admission process is fast-tracked in accordance with the EAC Procedure for Admission of New Members into the EAC.

Dr Mathuki and President Mohamud

He added that the EAC Secretariat would write to Partner States to request for nominations for members to constitute the EAC Verification Team.

A decade in the foyer?

Somalia made its application to join the East African Community in 2012.

However the country’s application remained pending due to various reasons.

The Secretariat wrote to Somalia in November, 2018 proposing a working visit by a team from the Secretariat.

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 of a verification exercise.

Somalia officials wrote back 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.

But during the recent Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State the issue of the Verification Exercise for the Admission of the Federal Republic of Somalia into the Community propped up.

Leaders instructed the Council of minister to resume the verification exercise.

Earlier Story: Somali soon to join EAC