After the conclusion of the arduous negotiationsthat took place in Nairobi in August 22-30, 2023 leading up to Somalia's potential admission into the esteemed East African Community (EAC), I am filled with a sense of optimism and gratitude. The tireless efforts and unwavering commitment displayed by all parties involved have brought us one step closer to achieving our shared vision of a more integrated and prosperous East Africa.
As Somalia's Special Envoy to the EAC, I have had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the dedication and spirit of collaboration among member states. The negotiations have been conducted with utmost respect and a genuine desire to build bridges that will strengthen regional ties and promote mutual growth. I extend my heartfelt appreciation to all the delegations for their constructive engagement and open-mindedness throughout this process.
While the negotiations have come to a close, it is important to emphasize that the final decision regarding Somalia's admission into the EAC rests with the Heads of State Summit scheduled for November 2023. This summit presents a crucial opportunity for our nation to present its case and demonstrate our commitment to the principles and values of the community.
The path towards regional integration is not without its challenges, and we acknowledge the complexities involved in harmonizing policies and regulations across diverse economies and political landscapes. However, Somalia remains committed to actively addressing these challenges and working collaboratively with our fellow member states to find mutually beneficial solutions.
Joining the EAC holds immense potential for Somalia's socioeconomic development and regional cooperation. It offers us the opportunity to tap into a larger market, attract investment, and foster economic growth. By aligning our policies and regulations with those of the EAC, we can create an enabling environment that encourages trade, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Moreover, membership in the EAC will enable us to deepen our collaboration in vital sectors such as agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and healthcare. By sharing expertise, best practices, and resources, we can collectively address common challenges and uplift the standard of living for our citizens.
As we await the Heads of State Summit in November, Somalia remains committed to upholding the principles of the EAC, including democracy, good governance, respect for human rights, and the rule of law. We recognize that these principles are fundamental to fostering a harmonious and prosperous East Africa, and we are fully dedicated to their implementation and promotion.
While we eagerly anticipate the outcome of the summit, we must also recognize that our journey towards integration does not end with admission into the EAC. It is merely the beginning of a new chapter in our shared pursuit of regional cohesion and progress. Somalia is prepared to actively contribute to the community's objectives, working hand in hand with our fellow partner states to address common challenges and seize opportunities for collective growth.
In conclusion, as we reflect on the conclusion of the negotiations, we must remain positive and forward-looking. The potential admission of Somalia into the East African Community presents a significant opportunity to strengthen ties, build bridges, and forge a future of shared prosperity. We are grateful for the support and cooperation extended by our fellow partner states and remain committed to the principles and values that underpin the EAC.
Admitting Somalia into the East African Community is not merely symbolic; it is a tangible manifestation of our shared vision for a prosperous and united East Africa.
Let us approach the forthcoming Heads of State Summit with optimism, knowing that our collective efforts have brought us closer to realizing our vision of a more integrated, resilient, and prosperous East Africa. Together, we can shape a brighter future for Somalia and the entire region.
Dr Abdulsalami Omer is a special envoy of the president of the Federal Republic of Somalia to the East African Community