Whaaat?! EAC Secretariat cleared for negotiations with Somalia – the plot thickens!

Whaaat?! Eac Secretariat Cleared For Negotiations With Somalia - The Plot Thickens!

It was a moment of convoluted confusion and psychedelic perplexity as the directive to commence negotiations with Somalia regarding their request to join the seven-member bloc left many agog. The Heads of State deliberated on and adopted the report of the verification of Somalia’s application to join the EAC – earlier circulated to the partner states – during their 21st Extraordinary EAC Heads of State Summit held on Wednesday, May 31, in Bujumbura, Burundi, leading to a surge of burstiness and exuberance in the air.

The Secretariat, which serves as the executive organ of the Community, and the Council of Ministers, which is the central decision-making and governing organ of the EAC, have been directed to commence immediate negotiations with Somalia as it strives to join the EAC. The negotiations are expected to be concluded as soon as possible by the two organs before they report to the next ordinary summit of the EAC Heads of State.

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The euphoric Somalia’s Presidential Special Envoy to the EAC, Abdusalam Omer, on Thursday, June 1, expressed his jubilation regarding the news. In an interview with The New Times, Omer said: “This is a major milestone for Somalia’s accession to the EAC and the acceptance of its application. It is a testament that Somalia has met the necessary requirements to join the EAC. I am sure the negotiations will be successful.”

Somalia had submitted its application to join the community in February 2012, and after the President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud rekindled the country’s request to join the bloc in July 2022, the Secretariat launched its verification mission to assess Somalia’s readiness to join the regional economic community on January 25, 2023. In July 2022, the President of Somalia informed his EAC colleagues during a meeting in Arusha, Tanzania that the country possesses vast marine resources, livestock, close to 10 million hectares of arable land, and a “human resource which is very entrepreneurial and very much active,” making it a very resource-rich part of East Africa, with 15 to 20 million people.

As talks commence between the EAC and Somalia, people are left wondering what benefits the Horn of Africa nation will enjoy upon joining the bloc. There is a palpable sense of excitement in the air, and only time will tell what the future holds for Somalia’s potential accession to the EAC.

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