EAC begins process of admitting war-torn Somalia into bloc to boost regional economy
The East African Community (EAC) has started the process of admitting war-torn Somalia into the bloc in a move aimed at expanding the economic fortunes of the region.
If successful, the entry of Somalia will bring the number of member states to eight, just one year after the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was admitted. Other members include Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and South Sudan.
During an ongoing staff retreat for the East African Community Secretariat, East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), East African Court of Justice (EACJ), and EAC staff at Maanzoni Lodge in Machakos County, EAC Secretary General Dr. Peter Mutuku Mathuki said that once negotiations are completed, Somalia could be admitted before the end of 2023.
“We are sending a team of experts to Somalia for a verification mission by end of this month which will come up with a report. The report will be shared with both the cabinet and the summit for recommendations. If it is deemed fit for admission, then Somalia becomes our 8th member state by end of this year,” said Mathuki.
According to Mathuki, the entry of Somalia will help boost the economy of the region by increasing the current annual income of $10 billion to the projected target of $20 billion. S
omalia comes with a blue economy benefit since it occupies the largest coastal line in Africa of over 3200 kilometers. The expanded coastline will be a major boost to the regional economy, even as the member states push for the adoption of a common market, common currency, and free entry in each of the countries.
“Dealing with insecurity in Somalia while in EAC will be much easier, once it is a member of EAC whatever problems they have will be solved better and easier within the framework of EAC,” said Mathuki. He added that the first step towards the implementation of a common currency is the establishment of the East African Monetary Institute, which will be operational by the end of this year.
To harmonize fiscal and monetary policies, a central bank of East Africa will be put in place for smooth flow and adoption of a common currency in three years.
“In East Africa, we have a huge market of 300 million people, what we need is capital. We allow all the investors from any part of the world to bring foreign direct investments in EA to tap the huge market we have of 300 million people, and when they invest they are able to access the bigger market we have in Africa of 1.3 trillion people which is a good advantage,” said Mathuki.