Somalia has achieved a significant breakthrough as its application to join the East African Community (EAC) bloc has been accepted. This represents a momentous occasion for the Federal Republic of Somalia, which had submitted its application back in 2012. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed sincere appreciation for the endorsement of the verification report, acknowledging the importance of this milestone in the journey towards EAC membership. This decision serves as a testament to Somalia’s readiness and preparedness to become a member of the EAC.

The EAC launched a Verification Mission in January 2023 to evaluate Somalia’s suitability for joining the community. The resulting Verification Report was carefully reviewed by the Heads of State during the 21st Extraordinary Summit held in Bujumbura, Burundi, on May 31. The Heads of State discussed and approved the report, which had previously been circulated among the EAC partner states. Consequently, the EAC secretariat and the Council were instructed to initiate negotiations promptly with the Federal Republic of Somalia and present their findings at the upcoming Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State.

At present, the East African Community (EAC) encompasses a roster of member states, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The DRC, having joined the EAC in April 2022, is the most recent addition to this esteemed group of nations.

In a positive development, Kenya and Somalia reached an agreement in May to gradually reopen their border points in Mandera, Lamu, and Garissa. This decision aims to put an end to the 12-year blockade that began in 2011. The Interior Cabinet Secretary of Kenya, Prof Kithure Kindiki, and his Somali counterpart, Mohamed Ahmed Sheikh, confirmed the phased reopening, with Bula Hawa in Mandera set to be the first border point to open within 30 days. Subsequently, Liboi in Mandera will follow in 60 days, and Ras Kamboni in Lamu will reopen in 90 days.

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