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Somalia has joined the East African Community

Somalia’s accession to the East African Community (EAC) is an effort to stimulate the country’s economic growth after thirty years of civil conflict.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud described Somalia’s membership in the regional trade bloc as a “ray of optimism.”

It provided “hope for a future of opportunities and prosperity,” according to him.

Somalia has been embroiled in unrest since 1991, with the jihadist organization al-Shabab controlling large portions of the country.

Some of its neighbors have contributed troops to the struggle against the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamist group.

Member state heads determined the admission of Somalia after convening a summit in Arusha, Tanzania.

Integration of the Horn of Africa nation Somalia into the EAC is a monumental achievement, but it took the effort to occur quickly.

After months of lobbying, significant skepticism and doubt greeted the membership of several member states in the regional bloc.

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The unrestricted movement of EAC citizens among member states has raised concerns regarding the potential facilitation of al-Shabab fighters’ regional mobility.

To gain membership in the EAC, prospective nations must demonstrate their commitment to sound governance, democratic values, the rule of law, human rights, and social justice.

A year ago, Transparency International deemed Somalia the most corrupt nation globally.

Thus, Somalia was deemed unprepared to join the bloc by some.

Striving for Membership

August marked the beginning of EAC-Somalia negotiations, which the Kenyan government hosted.

President Hassan assured the EAC that his nation, with the support of member states, was working ceaselessly to resolve the issues.

Engaging in a charm offensive, he highlighted the 3,000-kilometer coastline of his nation, which would connect the area to the Arabian Peninsula, a thriving economic zone, and Somalia’s fishing-dependent marine economy.

This offer appeared to be too attractive for the EAC nations to decline.
Reactions to the announcement made on Friday have been divided.

On X, formerly Twitter, proponents said the entry was long overdue and would benefit the region.

Mixed Reactions to Admission

Others thought the EAC should have had more time to overcome Somalia’s challenges.

The alliance endeavors to increase its market scale to unite every nation in the Horn of Africa.

EAC Secretary-General Peter Mathuki alluded to the possibility that Djibouti and Ethiopia would join the bloc earlier this year.

Last March, the Democratic Republic of the Congo became a member.

Somalia becomes the eighth EAC member after Burundi, DRC, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda.

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