Somalia on Friday signed the Treaty of Accession signaling its official entry into the East African Community as the eighth member state.
The Treaty of Accession was signed by Somalia’s President Sheikh Hassan Mohamud and the chairperson of the Summit of EAC Heads of State, President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan at a ceremony held on December 15 at Entebbe State house in Uganda and witnessed by President Yoweri Museveni and the EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki.
“By Somalia joining the EAC we have a major boost in the integration particularly in the regional and continental trade under the AfCFTA,” said President Kiir.
“Today’s ceremony signifies a commitment of Somalia and EAC to come together in the spirit of African unity for mutual benefit of our people. On behalf of the EAC Heads of State summit I would like to warmly welcome Somalia into the EAC.”
He said Somalia is joining a regional economic bloc that has recorded significant achievement in all its four pillars of integration (Customs union, common market, monetary union and political federation).
President Mohamud pledged to support the integration process that would see his people benefit from the free movement of goods, people and services between Mogadishu and the rest of the partner states.
“Today is a day of immense pride as we celebrate Somalia’s admission to the EAC. This community is where Somalia belongs to. It symbolises the realisation of our collective aspirations and it’s a beacon of hope for a future filled with opportunities,” said President Mohamud.
“Somalia’s integration will strengthen people to people connection benefiting East Africa in various aspects. Somalia’s are already here. Today we have been newly born for purposes of legitimacy and legalisation.”
President Museveni called for strengthening of free trade within the bloc. “I’m glad that the East African region is assembling and regrouping like it used to be before the colonial divide. I congratulate Somalia for joining the EAC. Somalia has already joined the EAC. I’m sure if you go to Mogadishu, you will find Kenyan goods in the shops,” said Museveni.
Dr Mathuki said Somalia now has six months within which to deposit the instruments of the Treaty of accession at the EAC headquarters.
“Thereafter we shall start the roadmap of integrating Somalia into the EAC. The secretariat will be ready to ensure that Somalia is integrated. We want to see the expansion of the Community.” said Dr Mathuki.