GOOBJOOG NEWS: Somalia was formally admitted into the East African Community (EAC) on Friday, November 24, 2023, following the sitting of the 23rd Ordinary Heads of States Summit in Arusha, Tanzania. The admission marks the end of an 11-year-long journey for Somalia’s quest for entry into the East African bloc. It also marks the beginning of a new journey of cooperation, collaboration, synergy and growth.
Somalia’s entry into the EAC is a major leap in more ways than one. First, it affirms our country’s aspiration to become an active participant in the arena of community of nations. It is hinged on a firm belief that mutual co-existence anchored on respect and the continuous search for a common good is as significant as the fulfilment of national goals. It affirms Somalia’s desire to join hands with neighbouring countries in addressing existing and emerging challenges as globalisation gradually narrows frontiers and creates a closer bond among nations. Transnational threats such as terrorism, human and drug trafficking, and money laundering, among other crimes, call for collaborative efforts among countries.
Somalia’s entry into the EAC now expands the regional bloc on several fronts. The EAC population which currently stands at about 285 million will now jump to 300 million while the land mass, including water, goes up by upwards of 637,657 square kilometres to stand at 5.4 million square kilometres. EAC’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stood at $305 billion in 2021. That is set to go up with Somalia’s entry. All these facts and figures present a myriad of investment opportunities through intra and inter-trade under the EAC Common Market protocol. The admission is also expected to ease the movement of Somalis across the 8 EAC countries, thus removing a major obstacle, especially for Somali entrepreneurs.
In acknowledging these opportunities, it is also important to understand that entry to the EAC does not present the magic bullet to our national challenges. Somali leaders will still need to work with the same zeal and zest to meet many other thresholds before the country can fully enjoy the benefits of joining the regional bloc. That means we will need to continue finding local solutions to our domestic challenges, fixing the economy, fighting graft, fighting terrorism, uplifting many from poverty, and building strong institutions.
Our entry card into the EAC is the mirror we may have desired to help us reflect deeper on our individual and collective contribution to national development. It holds our contribution accountable and instills the understanding that we are not working in isolation but within a community of neighbours.