Exploring the Multifaceted Implications of Somalia’s Joining the East African Community (EAC)

Exploring The Multifaceted Implications Of Somalia's Joining The East African Community (eac)

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The recent decision by Somalia to join the East African Community (EAC) has emerged as a significant development in the region. This integration process holds deep implications for the country and its population. The relationship between Somalia and other EAC aligned states is crucial as Somalia embarks on a new era of regional collaboration, aiming to create a brighter future for its people.

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The approval of Somalia’s application to join the EAC during the 21st Extra-Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State in Bujumbura, Burundi, signifies Somalia’s readiness to become part of the community under the leadership of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. This decision demonstrates the President’s commitment to a promising future for Somalia, offering numerous benefits in social, economic, and political aspects.

From a social perspective, joining the EAC enhances Somalia’s ability to work with neighboring nations on security and counter-terrorism, promoting regional safety and stability. It also brings social progress, including job creation, improved healthcare, poverty alleviation, and education, as member states share expertise and resources.

Politically, joining the EAC will strengthen Somalia’s governance through exposure to the community’s mechanisms, fostering transparency and anti-corruption measures. Additionally, regional diplomatic opportunities will contribute to political stability and conflict resolution. Economically, Somalia gains access to a larger consumer base, facilitating cross-border trade and promoting economic growth. Furthermore, the focus on infrastructure development within the EAC will enhance connectivity, trade efficiency, and overall competitiveness.

However, it is important to consider the potential challenges that Somalia may face during the process of joining the EAC. These challenges include aligning its legal framework with EAC regulations, addressing historical tensions with neighboring countries that may raise security concerns for other EAC members, and overcoming poor infrastructure, such as road networks and ports, which could hinder efficient trade and networking with other member states.

Similarly, the EAC will also benefit from Somalia’s inclusion. Somalia can contribute to enhanced regional security efforts by participating in counter-terrorism initiatives, intelligence sharing, and joint military operations against extremist groups such as Al-Shabaab, which pose a threat to the entire region. Somalia’s geographic location offers strategic access to the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, potentially serving as a gateway to markets in the Middle East and beyond. It also promotes cultural exchange and support among member states, fostering regional harmony and unity.

Somalia’s bid to join the EAC began in 2012 and raised concerns about the different pace of South Sudan’s admission despite shared challenges. These challenges included security, governance, capacity, and economic diversification issues during the integration process. Thankfully, during the 21st Extra-Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State in Bujumbura, Burundi, Somalia’s application was adopted following the adoption of the Verification Report, bringing relief.

Despite these challenges, it is crucial to focus on the benefits for both Somalia and the EAC. This engagement holds the potential for economic, social, and political gains. By actively participating in the community’s processes, addressing internal issues, and leveraging regional support, stability, economic growth, and social progress can be achieved. Regional cooperation is a vital step towards lasting peace and prosperity in conflict-affected nations.

In conclusion, the success of Somalia’s integration into the EAC relies on the collective commitment of member states and the active engagement of the Somali government. This integration offers the opportunity for a brighter future for the Somali people, relying on joint problem-solving and developmental support from all EAC member states.

The writer, Hon Sadik Warfa, is a former Minister of Labour of the Federal Republic of Somalia and represented Mudug Constituency in the Federal Parliament from 2016 to 2022.

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