Somalia, ravaged by war for thirty years, recently entered the East African Community (EAC) to revive its economy.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud hailed this move as a beacon of hope, envisioning a future of opportunities and prosperity.
However, the country’s history of conflict, notably with the al-Shabab jihadist group, poses challenges. Al-Shabab’s presence in the region raises concerns about the ease of movement for militants within EAC countries.
Despite hurdles, Somalia’s acceptance into the EAC was a significant step for the Horn of Africa nation. Initial resistance among member states delayed the decision.
EAC membership demands adherence to good governance, democracy, human rights, and social justice. Transparency International’s ranking of Somalia as the world’s most corrupt country raised doubts about its readiness for EAC entry.
Negotiations, initiated in August and facilitated by Kenya, aimed to address these concerns. President Hassan highlighted Somalia’s strategic position, with a vast coastline promising economic connectivity to the Arabian Peninsula and marine resources.
The decision received a mixed response. Supporters lauded the move, long overdue in their opinion, anticipating regional benefits. Yet, critics expressed concerns about inheriting Somalia’s challenges and suggested more deliberation.
The EAC, eyeing further expansion in the Horn of Africa, hints at Djibouti and Ethiopia’s potential future memberships. Last year, the Democratic Republic of Congo joined, making Somalia the eighth member alongside Burundi, Kenya, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Uganda.