Arusha (Caasimada Online) – The East African Community (EAC) is quickly moving forward with a plan to add a new member, Somalia, to gain control over the Horn of Africa nation’s coastline.
Somalia’s long Indian Ocean/Red Sea route linking the East African region to the Arabian Peninsula is viewed as a promising economic zone.
EAC Secretary General, Peter Mathuki, stated that admitting Somalia would bring significant benefits to the EAC by utilizing the country’s blue economy resources, such as fish.
Somalia’s coastline is the longest in continental Africa, spanning 3,300 kilometers, and boasts diverse waters that house various fish species. The coastline also hosts a significant shipping route around Africa, despite its past association with piracy.
Mathuki emphasized that admitting Somalia would be in the economic interest of the EAC. In addition to being a leading country in livestock population, Somalia also has valuable mineral deposits.
Mathuki, who successfully advocated for the Democratic Republic of Congo to join the EAC, believes that Somalia’s admission to the seven-nation bloc could be imminent.
A verification team will be sent to Mogadishu to assess whether the country is ready to join the EAC. The decision to admit EAC leaders endorsed Somalia during their summit in Arusha in July 2022.
Somalia believes joining the EAC will boost the East African economies, specifically the blue economy and cross-border trade. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said in October last year that his country, which shares border with Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, is already connected to the bloc through different business ventures.
Somalia, if admitted, will be the fourth largest country in surface area after DRC, Tanzania, and South Sudan. It will have a smaller population than the other five EAC states, DR Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and South Sudan.
The outcome of the verification mission will be crucial in determining if Somalia will be admitted as the newest member of the East African Community.
The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organization that was established in 1967 with the signing of the Treaty for East African Cooperation.
The EAC consists of six member states: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan.
The main goal of the EAC is to promote economic integration among its member states by creating a Customs Union, Common Market, and, ultimately, a Monetary Union. The organization also aims to promote political and social cooperation among its members.
The EAC has been actively seeking to expand its membership in recent years. In 2019, the Democratic Republic of Congo became the newest member of the EAC, and now the organization is exploring the possibility of admitting Somalia.