Somalia moves closer to EAC membership with verification process underway

Mogadishu (Caasimada Online) – On Wednesday, the East African Community (EAC) has begun a verification process to evaluate if Somalia is ready to join the organization.

A team of experts from the EAC Partner States will be visiting Somalia from January 25th to February 3rd, 2023, to determine if the country meets the criteria for membership.

According to EAC Secretary General Hon (Dr.) Peter Mathuki, The team will investigate Somalia’s institutional and legal frameworks, policies, strategies, and projects to assess the country’s level of conformity with the EAC. They will also evaluate Somalia’s development plans in infrastructure, energy, education, peace and security, and international cooperation.

The team will also evaluate Somalia’s compliance with international law and determine if the country is prepared to become a member of the EAC Customs Union, Common Market Protocol, Monetary Union, and ongoing political confederation Constitutional Framework.

Somalia’s Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister welcomed the assessment, saying that the country will significantly benefit from the free movement of people across the region without needing visas if it becomes a member of the EAC.

“Somalis are already present in the East African region. The Somalis started integrating with their brothers and sisters of the region way before the request of formalizing the decision to join the EAC,” he said.

Mrs. Tiri Marie Rose from the Republic of Burundi is leading the EAC verification mission.

Somalia first applied to join the EAC in 2012, but the process has been pending for various reasons. 

The 22nd EAC Heads of State Summit acknowledged that the verification process for Somalia’s admission into the EAC had yet to be undertaken. The Summit directed the Council to swiftly complete the verification under the EAC procedures for admitting new members and to report back at the 23rd Ordinary Meeting of the Summit.

The Treaty establishing the EAC includes criteria for the admission of new countries into the community. These include acceptance of the community as set out in the Treaty, adherence to universal human rights, and the ability to participate effectively in the EAC’s activities. The EAC also considers a country’s development level and contribution to the community’s objectives.

The EAC is a regional intergovernmental organization that aims to promote economic integration among its member countries. It was established in 1967 by the signing of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.

The organization currently has six member states: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan.

The EAC’s objective is to create a single customs union and common market, which will lead to increased trade among the member states and ultimately establish a monetary union. The EAC also focuses on infrastructure, energy, education, peace and security, and international cooperation.

With its long national coastline of over 3,000 km that links Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, Somalia could play a significant role in increasing intra-regional trade among EAC countries. Additionally, exploiting Somalia’s blue economy resources, such as fish, could boost the regional economy.

If admitted, Somalia will be the 8th member of the EAC and will be able to participate in the organization’s activities and benefit from increased trade and cooperation among the member states.