Opportunities And Challenges For Somalia’s Membership To The East African Community

With Somalia’s official entry into the East African Community (EAC) on 24 November 2023, this paper intends to present and analyse the challenges and opportunities its integration might have. Thus, the study uses primary data collected from 20 government officials, members of think tanks and academia, and other professionals, supplemented by secondary data and information taken from media monitoring. The paper establishes deep-rooted and pervasive challenges to Somalia’s membership of the EAC. Some emerge as a result of structural barriers: These include insecurity, the absence of political harmony in power and resource-sharing, weak governance systems, and a lack of physical infrastructure and the development of institutional capacity. Others include social and cultural differences between Somalis and other citizens of EAC member states, as well as different levels of skills and development. The paper also indicates that there are, inevitably, opportunities linked to Somalia’s new membership of the EAC. These include allying with the region against insecurity, the standardization of laws and procedures, and enabling the country to adhere to international systems of finance, economy and technology. Integration will allow Somalis from the blue economy (Somalia lies on the Indian Ocean and Red Sea) to invest competitively in the EAC, bringing with it the possibility of opportunities for job creation. The study recommends that the Somali government carefully consider addressing the challenges presented both here and elsewhere.

In Partnership with the Rift Valley Institute

This report has been published as a result of Farhia’s training in the Rift Valley Institute’s (RVI) Research Communities of Practice (RCoP) project. The paper therefore reflects the views of the author and not those or the position of the Rift Valley Institute and Somali Public Agenda.

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