June 28th, 2024

The President of Somalia Convenes EAC Partner States to Jointly Deliberate on Strengthening Integration and Cooperation at Regional and Continental Levels (GIZ)

From 24 to 25 June 2024, the East African Community Conference (EACON2024) officially commenced in Mogadishu, Somalia, marking a significant milestone in regional cooperation and Somalia integration. The conference was graced by the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, H.E. Dr Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who officiated the event, calling on all Somalis to embrace the opportunity that the East African Community brings, underscoring the nation’s position in strengthening regional cooperation in the community. The conference themes—economic development, peace and security, agriculture, and education—are rightly aligned with the EAC's agenda of deepening integration and widening cooperation in the region, with an additional focus on leveraging opportunities under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

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The conference celebrated the signing of the treaty of accession of Somalia to the EAC Treaty on December 15, 2023, at State House in Entebbe, praised the recent efforts made during the roadmap development for Somalia’s integration, and lauded Somalia’s progressive engagement with the community. The Deputy Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia, H.E. Salah Jama, Cabinet Ministers, representatives from business councils, academia, the private sector, civil society organisations, youth, women, development partners, women in business, and the media were among the participants at the event.

Highlighting the opening of the event was a photo exhibition showcasing tangible impacts created for EAC citizens through the EAC-Germany partnership. It featured beneficiaries from across EAC Partner States and all sectors of cooperation, such as trade in goods and services, harmonisation of standards, pandemic preparedness and One Health, integrated water management, and digital skills development.


With the involvement of the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) in the organisation of the conference and the need to sensitise on education matters, the Ministry of Education, Culture, and Higher Education of the Federal Republic of Somalia consented to support Somalia’s education community to prioritise education and skills development by fostering collaboration among universities, technical institutions, and vocational training centres within the EAC, ensuring access to quality education for all, especially women and youth.

Further coordination and collaboration with IUCEA were called upon, envisaging 1000 scholarships for Somali youth to study in East African universities. Additionally, Somalia’s Ministry of Education committed to engaging in the establishment of the East African Digital Skills and Research Alliance, championed by the EAC Secretariat, following the resolutions of the 19th Sectoral Council meeting on Education, Science & Technology, Culture, and Sports (SCESTCS) recently held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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Mr. John Bosco Kalisa, Executive Director of the East African Business Council (EABC), delivered a significant address, emphasising the importance of private sector collaboration in fostering trade and investment between Somalia and its East African neighbors. Kalisa highlighted Somalia's strategic coastal location as a key asset for trade and tourism and the potential for developing the livestock industry across East Africa. He also discussed plans to formalise cooperation between the EABC and Somalia's Chamber of Commerce to reduce trade barriers through initiatives like trade facilitation programmes and promoting regional value chains.

On his part, Mr. Bjorn Richter, Cluster Coordinator of the EAC-GIZ Cooperation, emphasised the role of development cooperation in fostering regional integration and highlighted GIZ's initiatives in supporting sustainable economic development in the region. He underscored the importance of collaborative efforts between international organisations and local stakeholders to drive meaningful progress towards creating impacts for East Africans.

The conference featured a range of key activities and presentations, including discussions on the impact of the EAC Common Market on Somalia's agriculture and food security by Briandt Gokah from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Dr. Idd Ramadhani Mandi discussed understanding rules of origin under the Customs Union, and Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim Nor examined the implications of regional economic integration on Somalia's banking sector.

The EACON 2024 Conference has set a transformative agenda that underscores the collective commitment of East African nations to foster regional cooperation in the EAC integration process, sustainable development, and the long-term prosperity of the region. The presence of high-level policymakers, business leaders, and scholars underscores the collective commitment to addressing challenges and seizing opportunities in the region and under the AfCFTA framework.

Find more information on EAC-GIZ support to Education and Digital Skills Training here. Find more information on EAC-GIZ support to Customs Union and Common Market here.