Somalia joins the East African Community

Somalia is now a member of the East African Community (EAC). This regional organisation has a single market allowing the free movement of goods and people. This is good news for Somalia, but also for neighbouring countries.

Preparations for the opening of negotiations for Somalia's integration into the EAC in Nairobi in August 2023. (illustrative image) AFP - TONY KARUMBA

By: RFI Follow


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The announcement, made on Friday, 24 November, from the organisation's headquarters in Arusha, was very well received by the UN mission in Somalia. For his representative, this integration marks a major step in the process of returning Somalia to its rightful place in the international community and in its relations with its neighbours. This integration is all the more important given that, with its 17 million inhabitants, Somalia brings this common market to more than 300 million people.

The Somali government has been battling an insurgency by al-Qaeda-affiliated radical Islamist group al-Shabaab in the south and centre of the country for 16 years. Joining the East African bloc is therefore an opportunity for Somalia, where seven out of ten inhabitants live below the poverty line.

Good news also for the organization, which is expanding even further east. Founded in 2000, the bloc, which includes Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, aims to facilitate cross-border trade by eliminating tariffs between its member states.

The announcement, made from Arusha, was made in the presence of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, who expressed his "deep gratitude". "This moment is not just the culmination of an aspiration, but a glimmer of hope for a future full of possibilities and opportunities," he said.

Honored to address the 23rd Ordinary Summit of the East African Community as #Somalia proudly joins this esteemed family of nations. Our commitment to regional unity, shared growth & prosperity marks a new chapter in our history. Grateful for the support of all EAC member states.

— Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (@HassanSMohamud) November 24, 2023

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