The president of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, has rekindled his country’s request to join the East African Community (EAC). On July 21, he told EAC Heads of State meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, that he was requesting them, officially, on behalf of his nation, that “we need to join this great community,” The New Times, Rwanda’s largest daily, reported.
Attending the high-level retreat of the Summit on the EAC Common Market, Mohamud said, “It will be a dream come true the day that Somalia will access, officially, this great community.”
He noted that for more than 10 years, his country has sought to join the bloc but circumstances did not permit.
“Our long-time dream was always to be part of this great community and we are still pursuing that dream to be realized,” he said. “Somalia belongs to East Africa. There is no country among the seven countries sitting here that Somalia is not linked to – by business, by community and by any other means.”
“Somali people are everywhere. People from these great countries are helping Somalia to come back to its feet. A lot of sacrifice has been made to Somalia by East African Community members. We are very much grateful to that. To pay back, we need to be part of this community and now, Somalia is right at the corner and we believe we have a great potential to contribute to this great community.”
After the recent admission of the DR Congo, as the seventh EAC partner state, Somalia wants to be the eighth member.
Somalia’s Head of State stressed that his country doesn’t want to be a liability anymore. It wants to be a very effective contributor to the bloc, he said.
In February 2021, the 21st ordinary EAC Summit, among others, considered a progress report on the verification exercise for admission of the Federal Republic of Somalia into the EAC. At the time, the Summit noted that the verification exercise for the admission of Somalia into the Community “had not been undertaken” and directed the Council of Ministers to follow up on the exercise. At the end of the latest Summit, regional leaders, including the incoming EAC Chairperson, Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye, welcomed Somalia’s keen interest in joining the bloc. They signed intent on ensuring that the verification exercise for admission of the country be fast-tracked.
Among others, Somalia has the longest coastline on Africa’s mainland.