Somalia joins the Community of East African States

Somalia is now part of the Community of East African States (EAC). This regional organization has a single market, allowing the free movement of goods and people. This is good news not only for Somalia but also for neighboring countries.
The announcement, made on Friday, November 24, from the organization’s headquarters in Arusha, was warmly welcomed by the UN mission in Somalia. For its representative, this integration marks a major step in the process of returning Somalia to its rightful place within the international community and in its relations with its neighbors. This integration is all the more important given that, with its 17 million inhabitants, Somalia brings this common market to over 300 million people.
For the past 16 years, the Somali government has been fighting the insurrection of the radical Islamist Shebab, affiliated with al-Qaeda, who have established themselves in the south and center of the country. Joining the East African bloc is therefore an opportunity for Somalia, where seven out of ten inhabitants live below the poverty line.
It’s also good news for the organization, which is expanding even further east. Founded in 2000, the bloc, which includes Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, aims to facilitate cross-border trade by eliminating customs duties between its member states.
The announcement, made from Arusha, was attended by Somali President Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud, who expressed his “deep gratitude”. “This moment is not only the culmination of an aspiration, but a beacon of hope for a future full of possibilities and opportunities”, he said.