INTENT

Somalia renews bid to join Sh30 trillion EAC bloc

The horn of Africa country has been pushing to become a member since 2012

In Summary
  • President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is already in Arusha to attend the Heads of States summit as a guest
  • The 2020 consensus report puts the horn of Africa country's population at 16 million. with a GDP of $490 billion
President Uhuru Kenyatta during the inauguration of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on June 9,2022
President Uhuru Kenyatta during the inauguration of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on June 9,2022
Image: PSCU

Somalia could be considering joining the East Africa Community (EAC), days after DRC Congo was admitted to the regional trade bloc. 

On Thursday, the country's newly elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud arrived in Arusha to attend the ongoing 22nd Ordinary East Africa Community Heads of State Summit, perhaps to review the inclusion bid that started a decade ago. 

The leader had initiated the bid during his first term between 2012 and 2017 together with DRC  but members declined due to war and disorder in the horn of Africa nation.

EAC secretary general Peter Mathuki told the media that the President of Somalia is in attendance as a guest, declining to divulge more information. 

Mohamud, who won the presidential polls in May was received by Tanzania's Trade and Investment  Minister Ashatu Kijaji and flatly declared his purpose. 

''I am here to make a formal bid for Somalia to join the East African Community,'' Mohamud said. 

A geopolitical expert Rashid Abdi and a close ally to the new president tweeted that Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are favourable to the idea.

 ''If allowed, the accession process will take a minimum of two years,'' Abdi said.

The inclusion of Somalia in the regional trading bloc will make EAC a plus 100 million population market after the addition of DRC pushed it to 92 million. 

The 2020 consensus report puts the horn of Africa country's population at 16 million. 

It is also likely to push the region's combined GDP above Sh30 trillion, from the current Sh29 trillion after the addition of DRC.

The current EAC partner states are Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and DR Congo.

The countries become members of the bloc when they meet certain conditions set out in the 1999 Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.

They include respect for universal principles of good governance, democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and other civil liberties.

At the summit which officially opens today, regional leaders are expected to take stock of the progress of implementation of the EAC Common market protocol and adopt strategic measures to unlock the lags and bottlenecks in the establishment of the common market.

They are also expected to agree on a roadmap for the full realisation of the common market, and; identify key areas where development partners can contribute to the attainment of the common market.

Burundi's President  Évariste Ndayishimiye will take over the chairmanship of the bloc from Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta.