The East African Community (EAC) welcomed Somalia as its eighth member on Friday, expanding the regional free trade bloc to more than 300 million people.
Somalia, with a population of 17 million, applied to join the EAC in 2012 and was admitted at a summit in Tanzania.
The outgoing EAC chair, Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye, announced the decision to admit Somalia under the treaty of accession.
🔺23rd Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State.
📌 The EAC Summit of Heads of State admits the Federal Republic of Somalia as the 8th Member of the EAC in accordance with Article 3 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC@TheVillaSomalia @HassanSMohamud @pmathuki pic.twitter.com/bqmPLtIsCn
— East African Community (@jumuiya) November 24, 2023
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud attended the summit along with the leaders of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.
Honored to address the 23rd Ordinary Summit of the East African Community as #Somalia proudly joins this esteemed family of nations. Our commitment to regional unity, shared growth & prosperity marks a new chapter in our history. Grateful for the support of all EAC member states. pic.twitter.com/xLFCkkAMpx
— Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (@HassanSMohamud) November 24, 2023
The EAC, based in the Tanzanian town of Arusha, was founded in 2000 and aims to promote trade by removing customs duties between member states.
It established a common market in 2010 and plans to launch a monetary union and a political federation.
According to the EAC members, excluding Somalia, covers a land area of 4.8 million sq kilometres (1.8 million sq miles) and has a combined gross domestic product of $305 billion.
Total EAC trade was $78.75bn in 2022, it said.
The Summit of the EAC Heads of State assigned the Chairperson of the Summit, Salva Kiir Mayardit, the President of the Republic of South Sudan, to arrange with Somalia the date of signing the Treaty of Accession of Somalia into the Community.
The Summit also instructed that Somalia should ratify the Treaty of Accession and submit the ratification document to the Secretary-General within six (6) months after the signing. The Summit further directed the Council of Ministers to develop a roadmap for the integration.