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Somalia Signs Treaty of Accession, Officially EAC's Eighth Member State

© AP Photo / Bebeto MatthewsSomalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud listens during an interview on his visit to the United Nations, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023, at U.N. headquarters.
Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud listens during an interview on his visit to the United Nations, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023, at U.N. headquarters. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 16.12.2023
The occasion marks a pivotal moment for Somalia's regional and economic engagement, ushering in a new chapter of partnership, opportunities, and shared prosperity within the EAC.
Somalia has formally taken a significant step towards integration into the East African Community (EAC) by signing the Treaty of Accession, solidifying its position as the eighth member state.
The momentous occasion was marked by the signing of the treaty by President Sheikh Hassan Mohamud of Somalia and President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan, who chairs the Summit of EAC Heads of State. This ceremony, held on December 15 at Uganda's Entebbe State House, bore witness to the presence of President Yoweri Museveni and EAC Secretary-General Dr. Peter Mathuki.
President Kiir lauded the strategic collaboration and highlighted its substantial benefits to regional and continental trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

"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," said President Kiir.

The East African Community Summit - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 28.11.2023
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What Does Somalia's Acсession to EAC Mean for Nation & Bloc?
President Mohamud echoed these sentiments, reaffirming Somalia's commitment to fostering the free movement of goods, people, and services within the partner states and positioning his country’s accession to the regional bloc move as a source of immense national pride and prospects.

"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 Mohamud. "Somalia’s integration will strengthen people to people connection benefiting East Africa in various aspects. Somalia’s already here. Today we have been newly born for purposes of legitimacy and legalisation."

In addition, President Museveni underscored the reinvigoration of free trade within the bloc, hailing Somalia's membership as an embrace of the region's historical interconnectedness.

"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," stated Museveni.

Meanwhile, the EAC Secretary General, Dr. Mathuki outlined the next steps, stipulating a six-month window for Somalia to deposit the instruments of the Accession Treaty at the EAC headquarters, culminating in concerted efforts to integrate Somalia into the fabric of the EAC.
Established in 1999 by the leaders of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, the EAC has seen subsequent expansions with Burundi and Rwanda joining in 2007, South Sudan in 2016, and the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2022.
Headquartered in the Tanzanian city of Arusha, the EAC works to promote trade by eliminating tariffs between member states and established a common market in 2010.
Before Somalia's inclusion, EAC countries had a combined land area of 4.8 million square kilometers (1.8 million square miles) and a combined gross domestic product of $305 billion, with total EAC trade of $78.75 billion in 2022, according to the bloc's website.