Somalia gains full membership of East African Community

Somalia’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Jibril Abdirashid Haji Abdi, presents the instrument of ratification of the treaty of accession to EAC Secretary-General Peter Mathuki (right) on March 4, 2023 in Arusha, Tanzania. EAC (@jumuiya) via X

Somali has gained full membership of the East African Community (EAC) after depositing her instrument of ratification of the treaty of accession with the bloc’s Secretary-General on Monday in Arusha, Tanzania.

At a brief ceremony held at the EAC headquarters, Somalia’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Jibril Abdirashid Haji Abdi, presented the instrument of ratification to Peter Mathuki, completing the admission process.

Somalia, which boasts the longest coastline of over 3,000km in Africa, linking Africa to the Arab Peninsula, becomes the eighth member of the EAC after the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

“Today’s occasion of Somalia depositing the instruments of the ratification with the Secretary-General, will enable Somalia to kick off the process of joining EAC’s areas of cooperation,” said the EAC Secretariat head Dr Mathuki.

The areas include trade, investment, industrial development and free movement of people, labour and services, he added.

“Somalia now has the green light to contribute to the development of a roadmap for her integration into the EAC,” Dr Mathuki said.

The roadmap will detail how Somalia will implement the EAC’s four pillars -- the Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and Political Federation.

“We will in the course of the upcoming weeks be bringing Somalia up to speed on the state of the EAC integration process, in all the pillars of regional integration.”

Mr Abdi said that his country was eager to contribute to the EAC integration by leveraging on her strategic location and abundant national resources for the benefit of the entire region.

“We recognise the importance of adding value to the Community, enhancing collaboration with our neighbours and promoting regional economic and social development through increased trade, bilateral agreements and joint programmes and projects,” he said.

Somalia is expected to designate a ministry and appoint a minister to coordinate EAC matters as required by the Treaty.

It should also elect nine members of Parliament to the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) and appoint a judge to sit in the First Instance Division of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ).