The Herald (Zimbabwe)

New member set to join East African Community


ACCORDING to Secretary-General Peter Mathuki of the East African Community (EAC), Somalia may be granted membership in the group this month.

At the Ordinary Heads of State Summit, which is set for November 23–24 in Arusha, the presidents of the surroundin­g countries are anticipate­d to support Somalia's admission. Dr. Mathuki stated before a panel on November 9 at the Africa Investment Forum in Marrakech, Morocco, that Ethiopia has indicated interest in joining the bloc, which is aiming to reach the whole Horn of Africa, after Mogadishu.

“The East African Community is one of the building blocks of the African Union and it’s fast-growing. We have DR Congo as the latest member, plus Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda. That is a market of around 300 million people. And this November, we are likely to admit Somalia into the Community. The coastline of the East African Community will stretch almost 500 000 kilometers. And we look forward to more expansion; we are looking at Ethiopia, which has shown interest in joining the Community. So, at the end of the day, we are looking at a market of close to 700 million people,” he said.

The panel, which included leaders of the Southern African Developmen­t Community, Ecowas, Comesa, EAC, and Comesa, discussed the goal of integratin­g Africa.

Dr. Mathuki emphasized the importance of the private sector in promoting intraregio­nal trade and integratio­n and stated that the EAC is people-centered. According to him, intra-EAC commerce has increased from less than 10 percent to almost 20 percent during the last ten years.

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