STORY BY UNSOM
Mogadishu - Somalia’s development partners have renewed their commitment to help the country end violent extremism and achieve economic recovery during a one-day Somalia Partnership Forum that was held in the Somali capital today.
Participants in the forum acknowledged the strides made by Somalia towards building peace, the promotion of human rights, and various efforts aimed at achieving prosperity for all its citizens.
The high-level forum was attended by representatives of 25 countries and 6 multilateral organizations, the presidents of the country’s five Federal Member States and the head of the Benadir Regional Administration that encompasses Mogadishu.
A senior United Nations official identified critical areas that are essential for Somali’s economic recovery process. These include the approved National Security Architecture, the stalemated constitutional review process, support to the National Independent Electoral Commission, the use of non-military measures to confront threats from Al-Shabaab, engaging the private sector and normalizing relations with international financial institutions.
Raisedon Zenenga, the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, highlighted national leadership and the adoption of inclusive policies by federal and state-level governments as some of the prerequisites for a successful economic recovery.
According to Mr. Zenenga, “a coherent approach by the international partners in supporting both the political and the security agenda” would also be critical to attaining progress.
Somalia’s Federal President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo” spelled out the government’s achievements since taking office nine months ago and outlined its plans for the future.
“Let there be no doubt of our commitment to implement the Somali people’s wish, to move away from a clan power-sharing formula in choosing its leadership, to a representative, inclusive and accountable democratic model,” the President emphasized in his keynote address to the Forum.
To achieve results, the President promised “far-reaching steps to bring about long-term political stability, by moving forward on an inclusive constitutional review process”, which, he explained, would provide a strong legislative framework that works in the interest of the Somali people.
A communiqué released at the conclusion of the Forum expressed concern at the large number of people still dependent on humanitarian assistance due to drought and conflict. The document urged local and international partners to take necessary action to deliver urgent humanitarian relief to affected populations.
“Climatic drought change and cycles are accelerating. And this constitutes in itself a business case for immediate and simultaneous investment in sustainable development in Somalia,” said Peter de Clercq, the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, who is also the UN Resident Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia.
Participants commended Somalia’s efforts to put in place mechanisms for economic recovery and growth, and they reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen partnership principles to help the country meet its objectives.
“You cannot turn back now. This is the time when we need a little bit more hand. Help us so that we can get economic recovery, debt relief to satisfy the IFIs (International Financial Institutions) and be a nation that can be independent,” said Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire.
Available preliminary data indicates that international aid to Somalia has reached a record high in 2017, which is estimated at $1.7 billion. That represents a 30 percent increase over annual aid levels between 2014 and 2016. The sharp increase in aid is attributed mainly to the surge in humanitarian support for the Farmaajo government’s drought response campaign.