Somalia Expected to Join EAC by End of Year

Somalia Expected to Join EAC by End of Year

Date:

What’s Happening

The Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC), Peter Mathuki, has said the EAC is hopeful that Somalia will become their 8th member within the year. Following an EAC conference in the Tanzanian city of Arusha on Wednesday, the Secretary-General announced that Somalia has made it to the next stage in their 11-year long bid to join the bloc. Somalia originally applied to join in 2012, however due to their instability progress has been slow. The EAC only launched a verification mission for Somalia’s readiness in January of 2023. In June the verification mission completed work, turning their report in to be adopted by the EAC’s heads of state.

“The EAC conducted a verification mission to assess the readiness of Somalia to join the bloc and the report was deliberated on and shared with all partner states. Negotiations for admitting it will begin on the 22nd of this month to the 5th of September”, said Mathuki

Over the coming days a series of meetings will be held in Nairobi, Kenya, to negotiate Somalia’s entry. While negotiations have, of course, yet to take place, Mathuki has said he expects Somalia to be admitted within the year after it passes the necessary processes.

What Somalia Needs to Do

The EAC is seeking to eventually join together into one state. As such, during its existence, its member states have worked to liken their laws, established a common market, as well as a unified customs. As such, during the negotiation period the EAC and Somalia will be establishing a time-frame for Somalia not only to join, but also “to implement and harmonise the laws with that of the region”, said Mathuki.

Following the negotiation process, a report will be submitted to the ‘Council of Ministers’, who will submit their own report to the Heads of State summit later in the year after a period of consideration.

If the Heads of State summit adopts the report, which they are expected to do, a political declaration will be made to formally admit Somalia into the bloc.

What Somalia Brings to the Table

Somalia is a complicated addition to the EAC. Regarding the benefits, Somalia yields significant economic potential due to its geographic location, and would join the EAC to the Arab world. Somalia also has a significant diaspora population, yielding potential for them to gain funding from those abroad sending money back home.

However, as is well known, Somalia suffers from a significant amount of militancy. It is due to this militancy that the Kenyan and Somalian borders have been closed or severely restricted for many years now, in order for Kenya to ward off attacks spilling over across its border.

The DRC and Somalian Complications

The DRC was admitted to the EAC only last year. Should Somalia also be integrated, the bloc will face significant challenges regarding militancy in both member states. Already the EAC has worked at assisting the DRC in combatting its large number of armed groups, with some calling the effort successful, and others critiquing it.

Somalia being admitted into the bloc opens up an opportunity for them to benefit from regional cooperation as does the DRC in an effort to better combat groups like Al-Shabaab.

However these things are of course easier said than done, and is likely to prove one of the largest hurdles the EAC will have to jump over in order to unify.

The EAC and its Hopes

As has been mentioned a number of times in this article, the EAC is seeking to eventually unify into one state. Previously this publication posted an article detailing the EAC, its processes, and its pursuance of unification. Should you desire to read it, you may do so with this link

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.
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