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Malonza highlights ministry achievements after Somalia joined EAC bloc

Business
 Cabinet Secretary for East African Community, the ASALs and Regional Development Peninah Malonza addressed the press on November 30, 2023. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

The East Africa Community(EAC) has achieved several milestones since the treaty to establish it was signed twenty-four years ago.

This is according to EAC Cabinet Secretary Peninah Malonza while highlighting some of the achievements yesterday with the most significant being increasing membership from the original three to seven.

The bloc initially comprised Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania before Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) joined. And now Somalia is the new kid on the block, having been admitted last Friday after a decade of intense lobbying.

The admission raised eyebrows and excitement in equal measure considering that the country has had a long history of insecurity due to the Al-Shabab terrorist group that has not only been a thorn in the flesh of Somalia but the entire EAC bloc.

Addressing the media in the company of EAC State Department Principal Secretary Abdi Dubat, Malonza defended the admission saying Somalia's presence comes with a lot of benefits including trade, integration and working together to strengthen the community in terms of membership.

“I know we have had our challenges as a region in terms of terrorism. But when we put our minds together we can solve problems just like we did for DRC. It's the same way we shall do in tackling terrorism in this region together working with Somalia and now I believe we shall get a new focus in addressing as eight member states,” she explained.

The EAC integration process is anchored on four pillars namely customs union, common market, monetary union and political federation.

“We have also been able to do joint infrastructure development projects such as the Arusha-Namanga-Athi River Road, operationalisation of the East African passport and abolished the visa requirements for the citizens of the EAC,” said Malonza.

She highlighted joint management of transboundary resources such as the Mara River and Lake Victoria basins, the establishment of the EAC Court of Justice, the East African Legislative Assembly(EALA) and institutions to fast track the integration process, ensuring notable efficiency along member states transport corridors as some of the other achievements.

"On the Northern Corridor, the turnaround time of movement of goods has reduced from eighteen to four days from Mombasa to Kampala and twenty-one to six days from Mombasa to Kigali is a great achievement too,” noted the CS.

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