Somali MPs approve East African Community treaty

Somalia MPs

Somali Members of Parliament raise their hands to vote on a resolution on the procedural rules for constitutional changes in Mogadishu, Somalia January 24, 2024.

Photo credit: Feisal Omar | Reuters

Somalia has moved a step closer to ratifying its admission to the East African Community, paving the way for local legislative authorities to formalise laws that will allow it to enjoy the benefits of membership.

The Lower House of the bicameral parliament, officially known as Golaha Shacabka (People's Hall), approved the EAC treaty at a session on Saturday.

The second chairperson of the chamber, Abdullahi Omar Abshirow, announced that of the 150 MPs present, 148 voted in favour, 1 voted against and 1 abstained.

The Upper House is now expected to endorse the approval, which will then be published in the government's official gazette.

Somalia became the newest member of the eight countries that form the EAC in December last year. The others are Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Burundi, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan.

Mr Abdullahi Bidhan, a member of the Parliamentary sub-Committee on Foreign Affairs, said: "This endorsement of Somalia joining the EAC is historic and will benefit our people and the rest of the community in many ways."

"It will stimulate economic growth," he added.

Today's endorsement by the Lower House is seen as an important step towards completing Somalia's membership process.

As per EAC procedure, the bloc's Council of Ministers has been tasked with tabling the approved agreement to start the implementation process leading to the formal membership of the Federal Republic of Somalia.