Somalia has been welcomed as the 8th member of the East African Community (EAC), marking a historic moment during the 23rd Ordinary Summit of the EAC Heads of State in Arusha, Tanzania. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni reiterated the importance of regional integration for prosperity, emphasizing that market integration is a key driver for wealth creation.
During the summit, held under the theme “Accelerating Economic Recovery through Climate Action and Enhancing Food Security for Improved Livelihoods,” Museveni highlighted the role of market integration in fostering economic prosperity. He stressed that Africa’s prosperity cannot solely rely on foreign aid or government handouts but requires the production and sale of goods and services within an integrated market.
Museveni drew parallels with regions like Latin America, emphasizing that despite possessing abundant natural resources, prosperity is hindered by inadequate organization and market integration. He cited the success of the United States, where products produced in one state can be sold across the country, benefiting from a market of over 300 million people.
The President of Burundi and outgoing chair of the EAC, Evariste Ndayishimiye, expressed gratitude for the support of his counterparts and outlined milestones achieved during his tenure. The new chair of the EAC, Salva Kiir Mayardit, President of South Sudan, expressed confidence in the community’s ability to address common challenges and highlighted the impact of candid discussions held during the summit.
Somalia’s admission as the 8th member of the EAC aligns with the community’s commitment to regional cooperation and integration. The summit was attended by leaders from Tanzania, Kenya, Somalia, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among others. The theme of economic recovery, climate action, and food security underscores the collective efforts of EAC member states to address pressing challenges and enhance the well-being of their populations.