Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has urged the East African Community (EAC) to fast-track his country’s admission into the regional bloc, the EAC said in a statement on Wednesday.
The statement, issued by the EAC headquarters in Tanzania’s northern city of Arusha, said Mohamud made the call during EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki’s maiden visit to the Somali capital of Mogadishu.
Mohamud said his country’s joining the EAC has been a delayed dream for the Somali government and people. He urged the EAC secretary general to expedite the process of admission so that Somalia can be the 8th member of the EAC.
The EAC is a regional intergovernmental organization of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda.
“Somalia belongs to the EAC. There is no country among the EAC member states that are not linked by business with Somalia, and existing historical linkages include language and culture,” said Mohamud.
Mohamud told the EAC secretary general that Somalia was working tirelessly to remove all the security challenges with the support of some of the EAC member states.
He reiterated the strategic position of Somalia, noting that the EAC will benefit significantly through the increased movement of goods, services, and people across the bloc in addition to expanding intra-regional trade.
The exploitation of Somalia’s blue economy resources, such as fish and the expansive coastline, would boost the regional economy, the Somali leader added.
For his part, Mathuki commended the desire of Somalia to join the EAC and assured the president that the EAC secretariat would do its part to ensure that Somalia’s admission process is expeditiously fast-tracked in accordance with the EAC procedure for admission of new members into the bloc.
The statement said Somalia applied to join the EAC in 2012.