Home » Hope for Somalia as EAC heads adopt admission report

Hope for Somalia as EAC heads adopt admission report

by CKG Editor

by FELIX KIPKEMOI

The East African Community (EAC) has finally adopted a verification report seeking to admit Somalia into the regional bloc, a move that gives a ray of hope to the war-stricken country.

The report was tabled during the 21st extraordinary Heads of State summit held in Burundi on Wednesday and chaired by President Evariste Ndayishimiye.

During the meeting, it was resolved that a report be tabled during the next ordinary meeting later this year where a final verdict will be issued.

“EAC heads of state deliberated and adopted the report and directed the EAC Secretariat and Council to commence negotiations with Somalia immediately and report to the next Ordinary Summit,” a communiqué signed by all the member states reads.

Somalia has been pushing for its inclusion into the EAC as an eight-member following the admission of the Democratic Republic of Congo last year.

Last July, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud attended the 22nd Ordinary East Africa Community Heads of State Summit where he made another bid to join EAC.

“I am here to make a formal bid for Somalia to join the East African Community,” Mohamud said.

The leader had initiated the bid during his first term between 2012 and 2017 together with DRC but members declined due to war and disorder in the Horn of Africa nation.

In its response, Somalia has termed the move as a noteworthy milestone and testament that Somalia is ready and fully equipped to join the EAC.

Through a statement from the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Somalia noted that its entry will be a great addition to the EAC sister countries as it will contribute to the integration and prosperity of the region.

“Somalia expresses its gratitude and appreciation to the heads of state and General Secretariat of the EAC for the communiqué that was made public and reaffirms its determination and desire to engage in productive negotiations that would hasten the EAC’s confirmation of its membership and formal admission,” it states.

Countries can only become members of the bloc upon meeting certain conditions set out in the 1999 Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.

They include respect for universal principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and other civil liberties.

In January, a verification team made up of senior officials from the seven member states visited Somalia.

They were tasked with making findings relating to the institutional frameworks in place, legal frameworks, policies, strategies, projects and programmes, areas of cooperation with other EAC Partner States and expectations from its membership.

The Council of the Ministers’ Summit during its 43rd ordinary session in Burundi in February endorsed the report.

While highlighting the significance of Somalia joining the regional bloc, EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki said the community will leverage Somalia’s coastline to boost its trade.

Somalia has the longest coastline in Africa stretching up to 3,200 kilometres.

Mathuki said the intra-EAC trade has continued to rise due to political goodwill among the member states, hitting Sh1.2 trillion (US$10 billion) from US$7.1 billion in 2019.

Source – TheStar

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