EAC & The HornNews

Blue economy and other opportunities Somalia brings to EAC

Somalia, a country of 17.6 million people, has joined the East African Community (EAC), marking a historic moment for the bloc in its regional trade and engagement.

On Monday, the country became the 8th member of the EAC bloc upon depositing its instrument of ratification for the Treaty of Accession to the EAC.

This move, officially pronounced by the bloc’s Secretary General Dr. Peter Mathuki, raises the profile of Somalia within the EAC, a regional intergovernmental organization aimed at promoting economic, social, and political integration among its members.

Dr. Mathuki said Somalia now has the green light to contribute to the development of a roadmap for her integration into the bloc.

“The roadmap will detail how the Federal Republic of Somalia will implement various EAC Commitments such as the Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and Political Federation,” said Dr. Mathuki.

The country now joins Burundi, the DRC, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania in the regional bloc that has a market of over 300 million people.

Read also: Will ATMIS withdrawal from Somalia turn it into an Afghanistan

Implications for Somalia and EAC region

Somalia’s membership in the EAC carries significant implications for both the country and the region as a whole.

“Somalia is ready to play its role as a contributing member of the Community, working hand in hand with each of you so that we have a brighter and more prosperous future for all EAC member states and their citizens,” said Somalia’s head of delegation, Haji Abdi.

For Somalia, this move represents an opportunity to strengthen its economic and political ties with neighboring countries, fostering greater stability and development.

Membership in the EAC provides Somalia with access to a larger market for its goods and services, as well as opportunities for cross-border collaboration in areas such as infrastructure development, trade facilitation, and security cooperation.

For the EAC, Somalia’s accession expands the geographical and geopolitical scope of the bloc, further enhancing its role as a regional economic and political force.

Despite its challenges, Somalia presents several unique business opportunities for the bloc. For instance, the country is known for its large livestock population, particularly goats, sheep, and camels. Livestock trade is a huge part of Somalia’s economy, with opportunities in meat processing, export, and veterinary services for potential investors.

Read also: Alshabab role in Kenya Sugar smuggling

Longest coastline in Africa

“Somalia boasts the longest national coastline of over 3,000kms in Africa, linking Africa to the Arab Peninsula, which the region can tap into to exploit Somalia’s blue economic resources and increase intra-regional trade and improve the lives of East Africans,” added Dr. Mathuki.

Somalia’s infrastructure, including roads, ports, and airports, requires investment and development, presenting opportunities for construction companies and infrastructure developers.

Additionally, with a growing energy demand, there are opportunities in renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, as well as in the development of the country’s oil and gas resources.

It is, however, important to note that investing in Somalia comes with risks, given the security and political challenges in the country, which has been battling Al-Shabab terror groups for decades.

With just one year to go until African Union forces are required to fully withdraw from Somalia, significant obstacles to peace still persist, raising doubts about the government’s ambitious objectives to defeat al-Shabaab and assume complete responsibility for securing the country by December 31, 2024.

That be as it may, Somalia’s membership in EAC underscores the bloc’s commitment to inclusivity and regional integration, demonstrating its willingness to embrace new members and work towards common goals.

Benefits: Somalia to nominate EALA lawmakers and judges

The endorsement of Somalia’s membership by EAC leaders at the 23rd Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State in November last year was a clear indication of the region’s recognition of Somalia’s efforts towards stability and development.

It also reflects the EAC’s confidence in Somalia’s ability to contribute positively to the bloc’s objectives and principles.

Going forward, Somalia has 12 months since the signing of the Treaty of Accession on 15th December, 2023 to domesticate the Treaty of Accession to the EAC to give the Treaty the force of law in the country.

What’s more, Mogadishu is expected to elect nine (9) Members of Parliament to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) and appoint a Judge to sit in the First Instance Division of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ).

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