Somalia applies to East Africa Community

2012-03-06 18:52

Nairobi - War-torn Somalia has applied to join the East African Community, a five-member bloc with a single market allowing free trade and movement of citizens, the group's current chair Kenya said.

Kenya said it had received the request which will be considered by the members.

"The request follows major developments in Somalia that have seen the country begin the journey to stability and peace after several years of civil strife," said the statement from the Kenyan presidency.

Somalia has been ravaged by a relentless conflict since 1991, and a lack of effective central authority has allowed pirate gangs, extremist militia and other armed groups to control mini-fiefdoms.

The international community last month launched a new attempt to restore stability in the anarchic country at a meeting with Somali leaders in London.

The East African Community comprises Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda which entered a common market in 2010.

The EAC is currently working to form a monetary union by 2012 and, ultimately, a political federation.