Arusha, Tanzania | Xinhua | The East African Community (EAC) on Wednesday officially launched the verification mission to assess Somalia’s readiness to join the regional bloc of seven member states.
A statement by the EAC headquarters in Tanzania’s northern city of Arusha said the verification team comprised of experts from the EAC member states will be in Somalia from Jan. 25 to Feb. 3, 2023, to establish the country’s level of conformity with the criteria for admitting foreign countries as provided in the Treaty for the establishment of the EAC.
Speaking during the official launch, EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki said the technical team in the Somali capital Mogadishu will engage the country to ensure that the verification was finalized and a report completed in time in readiness for presentation to the EAC Council of Ministers.
He said the EAC Council of Ministers will table the report for consideration by the 23rd summit of the EAC heads of state scheduled for the end of February 2023.
“The verification team is set to make findings relating to the institutional frameworks in place, legal frameworks, policies, strategies, projects and programs, areas of cooperation with other EAC member states and expectations from membership,” said Mathuki.
He said the team will assess Somalia’s development strategies and plans in key areas of collaboration including infrastructure, energy, education and science, peace and security, and international cooperation.
Somali Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abshir Omar Jama expressed enthusiasm for the team set to assess Somalia’s readiness to join the bloc, saying that Somalia will benefit greatly because of the free movement of people from Somalia and other countries without a visa if they are fully in the EAC.
EAC member states include Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.