After more than a decade of intense lobbying, Somalia has been admitted into the East African Community (EAC). After ratification by the Somali Federal Parliament, the membership will become official.
The application process, started by former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in 2011, had been long and arduous with some member states allegedly hesitant to bring Somalia into the fold.
The process finally yielded fruit this year after the current president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, appointed a special envoy to accelerate the admission process not long after he came into office in August 2022 for a second time.
Mohamud, who was also president from 2012 to 2017, was a key backer of regional integration during his first term.
“We are a significant country in the region which can contribute a lot, and we will also benefit from them,” Mohamud said as he landed in Mogadishu after an EAC summit in Arusha, Tanzania, where Somalia was admitted into the bloc on Friday.
The president has said Somalia’s membership will also benefit EAC members Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.