Somalia has officially joined Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) after having fulfilled the terms and conditions of accession.
The country was a signatory and full member of the bloc, but it failed to negotiate this transition due to lack of a government as the civil war had engulfed the country in 1991 after the overthrow of then-president Siad Barre.
Somali Prime Minister who was leading a delegation to finalize the deal has signed membership pact in the headquarters of Comesa in Zambia’s Lusaka.
“I signed Somalia’s re-entry to COMESA, our return to this 21 nation trading block is a testimony to our relentless efforts to rebuild our nation and a true indication of our commitment to taking our rightful place in the growth of our region and our continent,” said Somali PM in a Twitter post.
COMESA which is Africa’s largest trading bloc is set to get even bigger in June with the admission of Somalia and Tunisia, increasing its membership to 21 countries.
For Somalia, with a population of over 15.1 million, admission involved having to navigate legal and international relations hurdles.
In a June 8, 2016 letter, Somalia made a case for its admission arguing that it was a full member of the Preferential Trade Area (PTA), the precursor to Comesa, which changed its name in 1994.
Article 4 of the Treaty provides that the bloc’s highest organ — the Comesa Authority — may admit a country that is an immediate neighbor of a member state upon fulfilling conditions set forth, including acceptance of the aims and objectives, compliance with the general undertakings and fundamental principles and wishing to co-operate with Comesa.