Somalia: Donors meet to approve 'new deal'

2013-09-16 12:30

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Brussels - International donors met on Monday to approve a "New Deal" for Somalia to drive its economic and political recovery after two decades of bloody civil war.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud faced one of "the most difficult challenges in the world", EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton said as they went into the meeting.

"I hope this will be a really significant moment" for Somalia, Ashton added.

Mohamud said he was "very grateful" for all the effort made on behalf of his country, highlighting four priorities among the many tasks ahead - security, legal reform, public finances and economic recovery.

"The New Deal must deliver on the ground soon," he told delegates in an opening address.

After years of suffering, "expectations from are our people are understandably high. We must not let them down", he said.

However, in a dismissive commentary, Somalia's hardline Islamist Shabaab rebels dismissed the conference as "Belgian waffle" and a waste of time.

"The billions promised will most likely be unpaid, the paltry sum given to the apostates," it said, using its term for the Somali government, "will be lost in corruption".

International support

"It's a bit like Belgian Waffles: sweet on the outside but really has not much substance to it. They are just hollow promises of Kufr", or infidels, it said.

"Conferences never really had any meaningful impact on the ground here in Somalia and this one will be no different."

In January, Mohamud won the first formal US recognition of a Somali government since the 1991 overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre sparked a bitter civil war.

At least  50 high-level delegations from Africa, Europe and the Gulf are attending the one-day meeting in Brussels, along with aid groups and global finance institutions.

The New Deal Compact to be approved Monday sets out government priorities and future international support.

High on the agenda are plans to get one million children into school in a country that has one of the world's lowest enrollment rates - with only four of every ten children in class.

Over the past year, the government and parliament have worked without interruption but are not yet strong enough to secure international loans and are therefore dependent on grants.

Between 2008 and 2013, the European Union provided €1.2bn in aid - €521m in development co-operation and €697m for security.

Most security funding went to the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom), comprising some 17,000 troops and launched in 2007 with UN Security Council approval.

Growing insecurity

It props up the government in Mogadishu and has fought alongside its army, seizing a string of towns from Shabaab rebels.

In recent months, however, several deadly Shabaab attacks have dented confidence.

In June, a suicide commando assault on a fortified UN compound in the centre of Mogadishu killed 11.

At least 18 people were killed in Mogadishu on 7 September when two blasts rocked a popular restaurant, an attack quickly claimed by the Shebab.

With insecurity growing, in August medical aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) closed all its operations in Somalia, after 22 years of working in the Horn of Africa troublespot.

As well as a military training mission in Somalia, the EU runs an anti-piracy operation off the Somali coast, where attacks on shipping have fallen steadily in the past year.

Mohamud's government came to power last September after more than a decade of transitional rule.

Read more on:    un  |  al-shabaab  |  eu  |  amisom  |  hassan sheikh mohamud  |  somalia  |  east africa

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.