Negotiations for Somalia to join the the East African Community (EAC) kicked off this Tuesday August, 22nd in Kenya’s capital Nairobi.
The nine-day negotiation meeting have brought together experts from the seven (7) EAC Partner States, the EAC Secretariat, East African Legislative Assembly and East African Court of Justice, and their counterparts from Somalia.
Speaking during the official opening of the negotiation meeting at the Main Campus of the Kenya School of Government in Lower Kabete, Nairobi, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for East African Community Rebecca Miano said that negotiations between the EAC and Somalia were being held in accordance with a directive by the 22nd Extraordinary Summit to the Secretariat and the Council of ministers to commence negotiations with Somalia.
“The negotiations are expected to focus on, among others, the following clusters: Political, Legal and Institutional; Infrastructure, Productive and Social Sectors; and Economic and Trade Affairs,” said Kenya’s minister.
Ms. Miano said that the EAC was keen on an expanded and vibrant bloc, with high volumes of trade within itself as well as with other blocs.
“This, primarily, is because we intend to create wealth and prosperity for our people. A big and expanded market that the admission of Somalia will usher in will be a major boost for the private sector, itself a great milestone in the integration process,” said the CS.
“The Community is already contributing to peace and security in Somalia with Partner States providing troops as part of the African Union Mission in Somalia. The people of the rest of East Africa are eager to welcome their brothers and sisters from Somalia into the Community,” she added.
Somalia’s Minister for Planning Mohamud Abdirahman Sheikh Farah said the entry of Somalia into the EAC would be an excellent opportunity to take the integration process in East Africa to a new level, adding that his country was eager to join their brothers and sisters in Africa’s fastest integrating bloc.
Mr. Farah said that Somalia being part of the bloc would help to address the security challenges in the Horn of Africa, adding that the country’s entry into EAC would come with many benefits including a bigger market for goods produced in the region, improved infrastructure and investment opportunities.
“ Somalia has many things to offer the bloc including a huge youthful population, vast natural resources and agricultural potential,” he added.
Speaking at the event EAC Secretary General Dr. Peter Mathuki said that joining the community would enable Somalia to benefit from the EAC’s regional infrastructure projects such as roads, railways, and energy networks.
“These projects aim to improve connectivity, enhance transportation links, and boost regional trade, ultimately supporting Somalia’s economic development and integration,” said Dr. Mathuki.
“Somalia has the longest national coastline of over 3000km in Africa, linking Africa to the Arabian Peninsula, which the region can tap into to increase intra-regional trade and improve the lives of East Africans,” he added.
The Secretary General said that the coastline would bring immense benefits for the EAC through the exploitation of Somalia’s blue economy resources such as fish.