Somali government renews EAC membership request

Mogadishu (HOL) – Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who attended the prelude to the summit of the East African Community (EAC) head of states in Arusha in Tanzania on Thursday, has again submitted an official request for membership.

Mohamud was invited to the 21st Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State as a special guest, and Villa Somalia said in a statement that his trip would focus on renewing Somalia’s push to join the regional bloc.

“I am delighted to see the Somali flag flying next to the flags of your countries today, and I hope that it will remain there for many years to come. Somalia can be a wealthy country. We have mineral, livestock and agricultural resources. More importantly, we have a vibrant business community. The economic and social future of the countries of the Horn of Africa is interdependent,” he said.

“The future of these countries is connected, and Somalia does not want to be a burden to you. Instead, we want to be a useful country that contributes to these important countries. Therefore, speaking on behalf of the Somali people, today, I submit an official request for our membership in the East African Community (EAC).”

The government of Somalia submitted the request to join this EAC in 2016, but the EAC said it would send a delegation to Somalia to evaluate Somalia’s degree of readiness. However, the EAC has not yet travelled to Mogadishu for its assessment.

If Somalia joined the East African Community (EAC), its citizens would get more access to the EAC market and be able to sell goods to member countries tax-free. Somalia would also have visa-free entry into EAC countries and be eligible for the East African passport.

The EAC was first established in 1967 but was dissolved a decade later. It was re-established in 2000 and now includes seven African Great Lake countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

The combined annual economy of the EAC is estimated at more than 300 billion US dollars, with the total number of people living in these countries estimated at 312 million who share and travel one passport.

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