MOGADISHU, SOMALIA: The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has asked the East African Community to fast-track his country’s admission into the regional community.
Hassan said joining the EAC has been a long-time dream for the people and government of Somalia and urged the EAC secretary general Dr Peter Mathuki to expedite the process of admission so that his country can become the 8th member of the EAC.
The president made the call during the maiden visit of Mathuki to Mogadishu, where he formally delivered the 22nd EAC Ordinary Summit’s directive to the council to fast-track the verification exercise for Somalia in accordance with the EAC procedures of admission of new countries into the Community.
“Somalia belongs to the East African Community. There is no country among the EAC partner states that is not linked by business with Somalia and existing historical linkages include language and culture,” said President Mohamud.
He further told the secretary-general that his country was working tirelessly to remove all the security challenges with the support of some of the EAC member states.
“We are counting on you secretary general to send the verification team here in Mogadishu to start the process,” he added.
The president reiterated the strategic position of Somalia, saying that the community will benefit significantly through the increased movement of goods, services and people across the bloc in addition to expanding intra-regional trade with the already established Somali businesses in the region.
Mohamud said that Somalia’s long Indian Ocean-Red Sea route that links Africa to the Arabian Peninsula was a vibrant economic zone, adding that the exploitation of Somalia’s blue economy resources such as fish and the expansive coastline would boost the regional economy.
Mathuki applauded Somalia’s desire to join the EAC and assured the president that the EAC secretariat would do its part to make sure that Somalia’s admission process is expeditiously fast-tracked in accordance with the EAC procedure for admission of new members into the EAC.
The secretary-general told the president that after his maiden visit, the EAC secretariat would write to partner states to request nominations for members to constitute the EAC verification team. The team will comprise 3 experts from each partner state and officials from the secretariat.
In addition, upon the receipt of the names from the partner states, the secretariat will submit the names to the council for approval to conduct the exercise. Mathuki assured the president of his total commitment to leading the process of admission of Somalia into the community as directed by the summit.
Somalia made its application to join the East African Community in 2012. Since its application, the matter has been pending due to various reasons. On November 12, 2018, the secretariat wrote to Somalia, proposing a working visit to meet the relevant authorities and agree on, among other things, the way forward towards holding a verification exercise.
However, Somalia informed the secretariat that the timing for the working visit was not conducive then and that an alternative date was to be agreed upon by the parties.
The process has now been resurrected after the 22nd Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State observed that the verification exercise for the admission of Somalia had not been undertaken.
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