Somalia on Friday officially became the eighth member of the East African Community (EAC) after the EAC heads of state summit endorsed its decade-long application to join the regional bloc.
The EAC leaders endorsed Somalia’s membership into the bloc during the 23rd Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State held in Tanzania’s northern city of Arusha.
Somalia joins Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.
“I am overjoyed beyond expression as today we have opened a new chapter as a new member of the EAC,” said President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
Mohamud thanked the EAC heads of state for the trust they extended to Somalia to approve its application to join the bloc, saying: “Let’s work together for the prosperity of the regional bloc and the world in general.”
Peter Mathuki, the EAC secretary general, said the entry of Somalia will massively boost the EAC’s geographical reach, boost its efforts to improve its multilateral and fiscal standing, and the exploitation of Somalia’s blue economy resources such as fish, boosting the regional economy.
During the summit, Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye handed over the chairmanship of the EAC to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir.