Somalia has become a member of the East African Community (EAC) in a move its leader sees as a “beacon of hope” for boosting the country’s economy.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said the entry to the regional trade bloc would bring “hope for a future of opportunities and prosperity” for Somalia, through regional integration.
“Our commitment to regional unity, shared growth and prosperity marks a new chapter in our history,” the president,” he added.
Somalia’s entry application was endorsed at the 23rd East African Community Heads of State Summit in Arusha, Tanzania, on Friday.
The Summit assigned its new chairperson and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir to conclude a treaty of accession with Somalia. Mogadishu will then ratify the treaty and deposit the instrument of ratification within six months from the signing date.
The bloc is aiming to expand its market size as it hopes to integrate all countries in the Horn of Africa. Earlier this year, EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki hinted that Djibouti and Ethiopia would also join the bloc, according to the BBC report.
The ECA guides the free movement of goods, people, labor, services, and capital from one member state to another as well as the rights of establishment and residence without restrictions.
On Friday, Secretary General Mathuki said the entry of Somalia will massively enhance the bloc’s geographical reach, boost efforts to improve its multilateral and fiscal standing, and the exploitation of Somalia’s blue economy resources such as fish.
The Horn of Africa nation becomes the eighth member of the EAC after Burundi, DR Congo, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda.
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