Somalia has been seeking admission into the East African Community (EAC) since 2012. As the 23rd Ordinary Summit set for 24 November in Arusha, Tanzania closes in, Somalia is hopeful it will become the eighth member state. Since he was elected president of Somalia for the second time in May 2022, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has engaged his fellow EAC leaders in a bid to fast-track Somalia’s admission, making it clear during his speech at the previous summit that “Somalia belongs to East Africa.”
Somalia’s potential accession signifies a pivotal leap in the bloc’s expansion across East Africa and the Great Lakes Region, creating a vast internal trade market. EAC accession would accelerate its integration into the region and bring substantial economic gains for both Somalia and its neighboring states. Boasting the longest coastline in mainland Africa, stretching over 3,000 kilometers, Somalia would provide the bloc with access to the Arabian Peninsula, offering vast opportunities for the regional market. Only three EAC member states currently have direct access to the sea. Accession into the bloc would also offer Somali entrepreneurs enhanced investment opportunities and improve governance in line with the EAC’s regional integration components.