The Somali government and leaders from the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) have called for greater investment in Somalia’s economic development to create more job opportunities, rehabilitate essential infrastructure, and improve the living conditions of the Somali people.
Tuesday’s call came on the second day of the Somalia Partnership Forum during which Somalia’s Federal and state-level leaders of the country met with senior representatives of the international community to focus on humanitarian and development issues.
Participants commended the government of Federal President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo” for its leadership in the country’s drought response effort that averted a devastating famine in 2017.
But several speakers also warned that the threat of a major humanitarian disaster still loomed over millions of Somalis, and continued support from international partners would be needed for the foreseeable future.
“Unfortunately, we cannot declare victory, and we have to exercise extreme caution because the situation remains the worst we have faced in recent living memory after four failed rainy seasons,” said Peter de Clercq, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator and the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Somalia.
“We continue to need deliveries of humanitarian assistance to the tune of $100 million per month,” he explained.
De Clercq noted that international partners have provided over $1.2 billion in assistance to support the Federal Government’s drought response effort this year, adding that a humanitarian response plan for Somalia in 2018 will seek to raise another $1.5 billion.
“Without the support of the international community, we could not have averted this famine,” said Somalia’s Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), poverty, marginalisation, armed violence, insecurity, political instability, natural disasters and a lack of economic development have driven up humanitarian needs for decades in the east African country.
Also, a lack of access to basic services, especially in the areas of education and livelihoods opportunities, can easily tip residents into the vulnerable category in terms of relief needs, as well as encouraging outward migration in search of employment and increased susceptibility to recruitment by militant groups.
In his keynote address, President Farmaajo said his government intended to reduce poverty by two percent each year and had created jobs for thousands of Somali youth since taking office earlier this year with assistance from the international community.