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OpED: A new dawn for the East African Community

Abdusalam H. Omer

What you need to know:

  • Rapid urbanization is taking place where our citizens are increasingly taking advantage of increasing employment and educational prospects. This manifests itself through Mogadishu being consistently named as one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

There’s a new team player in town! And she is not only ready to join but also eager to contribute to the collective team that is working hard to dispel the perpetual view of African countries that are incapable of trading among themselves.

The East African Community (EAC) is the most successful regional grouping in Africa. It has achieved in eliminating physical and institutional barriers that impeded their citizens from collaborating and investing amongst themselves, but it has also shown how we as Africans can speak in one voice, lift each other up, and defend each other’s interests on the global stage. 

That new team player is none-other than Somalia, and boy is she ready to take her rightful place for the common good of all of us in the region.

Fiscal discipline is key to any successful Community such as the EAC that also endeavors to have a common currency and monetary policies. Somalia is being commended by world bodies such as the IMF and World Bank for the continuous public financial management reforms being undertaken in the country. The country is on track to attain debt relief by the end of this year.

Infrastructure is being built, and just recently the country saw the opening of the first privately built and owned seaport in the Puntland region of Somalia. This would become the first such port in the EAC as and when Somalia joins. Not only does this become the fifth deep seaport in the country, but also a testament to Somalia commitment to free market principles. Despite its many challenges, Somalia is growing rapidly on many metrics.

Rapid urbanization is taking place where our citizens are increasingly taking advantage of increasing employment and educational prospects. This manifests itself through Mogadishu being consistently named as one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Our country is also ready to harness the vast renewable energy potential including the best onshore and offshore potential for wind energy on the continent. This would not just be for the benefit of our country but when we connect to regional grids would help lower electricity prices in the whole Community.

Somalia as a Muslim country and as founding member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and an active member of the Arab League would not only be an important voice for the Community in these forums, but steadfastly lobby and promote fellow community members interests in these countries. Now the naysayers and doomsday profiteers will tell you that Somalia isn’t ready to participate, collaborate and contribute to this pool of shared prosperity but I differ strongly. They will say that Somalia’s Nationality Law which stipulates that every person of Somali descent around the world (Diaspora, Kenyan/Ethiopian/Djiboutian national of Somali ethnicity) is considered a citizen of the Federal Republic of Somalia and as such, poses a threat to the Community.

Did they ask themselves if it was an obstacle to the European Union when its member states that have similar nationality laws as ours were admitted to their union.

Despite the security threat posed by al-Shabaab in Somalia, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has declared an all-out war against the militant organization and initiated a multi-pronged approach to counter them. To date, the Somalia National Army-led efforts have resulted in clearing Al-Shabaab from virtually all HirShabelle and Galmudug states in central and southern Somalia. This is accompanied by a raft of financial measures including, the successful identification and seizure of the group’s illicit assets in the banking system, crippling their financing to do more acts of terror against the Somali people. Moreover, the significant security concerns in the region are transnational and not limited to specific nations, thus greater cooperation will see us all stand to benefit from Somalia’s inclusion in the EAC. We the Somali people are ready to contribute to our shared well-being and prosperity. As many tens of thousands of you are already working in our country as teachers, health professionals, hospitality workers, we stand ready to welcome more of you in taking part of the new dynamic Somalia that is coming up on the world stage)We hope to bring that vigour and integrity with us into the decision-making halls of the EAC for the greater good of all of us.

Source: This OpED was initially published by the author on https://www.monitor.co.ug/uganda

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