The conference of East African countries is expected to open tomorrow in Mogadishu

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Some of the East African Community (EAC) heads of state at the summit in 2019. Credit: Paul Kagame.
Some of the East African Community (EAC) heads of state at the summit in 2019. Credit: Paul Kagame.

Somalia’s assessment conference on joining the East African Community (EAC) will open tomorrow in Mogadishu, while the delegations from the 7 countries of the Union will arrive in the country today, reaching 50 members.

Somalia’s envoy to join the EAC Abdisalan Omar Hadliye said the delegation will be in Mogadishu in the coming days, observing the daily activities of government ministries and how Somalia is ready to join the Union.

Ambassador Hadliye who told the national media said that after consultation and assessment a committee will be formed to make a decision, and he added that the government hopes that Somalia will join the EAC within this year.

Abdisalan Hadliye, said that joining the EAC will have several benefits for Somalia, among them, Somali investors will have the same rights as citizens doing business in their countries. The fight against terrorism and to open the borders of those countries so that businesses can be separated from the countries that are members of the Union.

Somalia’s New Investment Strategy

At the beginning of December last year, Somalia hosted several investment focussed meetings locally and some of those gatherings with the local investors in the capital Mogadishu heralded hope. Years of instability served as a distraction and masked the country’s massive potential, which could easily turn it into an economic hub.

Guests attend the opening of Somalia international investment conference in Mogadishu, Somalia on 28 November 2022.
Guests attend the opening of Somalia international investment conference in Mogadishu, Somalia on 28 November 2022.

The first-ever of its kind, the investment conference brought together representatives of the Federal Government of Somalia, international partners and citizens from across the country. It served as an opportunity for the world to witness, first-hand, progress made by Somalia on the political and economic front.

Somehow, these investments conferences might have just provided the much-needed impetus Somalia needed to begin the journey of rediscovering its lost glory.

Investor confidence in Somalia appears to have improved since 2016, when investors rated the environment as ‘poor’, to 2020, when they said it was ‘good’.

During the conference, two sectors—energy and ICT— were show-cased as offering the best investment opportunities, with quick turnaround. The country’s 9th National Development Plan 2020-2024 lists energy as a national priority, stating its importance as a key enabler of sustainable economic growth. Energy powers industries and enhances productivity in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors.

Somalia To Join The EAC

Somalia had applied to join the EAC member states, for the second time, in 2019, but the Community never sent a team of experts to the country to determine if it qualified for membership. The decision on Friday means the procedure for joining will now commence and could take at least two years.

Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Tanzania for the EAC heads of State Summit. PHOTO | VILLA SOMALIA
Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Tanzania for the EAC heads of State Summit. PHOTO | VILLA SOMALIA

“The Summit directed the Council of Ministers to expeditiously fast-track the verification exercise in accordance with the EAC procedure for admission of new members into the EAC and report to the 23rd meeting of the Summit,” the leaders said in a joint communique.

Recently, the president of Somalia was on a whistle-stop tour of East and the Horn of Africa capitals in pursuit of an obvious outward foreign policy.

“We don’t want to be a liability anymore,” he told a gathering of Heads of State and dignitaries in Arusha, where he was a special guest at the just concluded High-Level Retreat of the EAC Common Market protocol.

“We want to be a contributing partner to this great community of nations. It will be a dream come true on the day that Somalia will access this great community,” said President Mohamud.

The sentiment within the bloc is that Somalia’s membership should be considered. According to the regulations, it will take at least 18 months before a decision is made.