11 May – Source: International Business Times – 461 words
World leaders have been urged to write-off drought-hit Somalia’s outstanding multi billion dollar debt as millions of people in the African country face starvation. Somalia is facing the “largest humanitarian crisis in history of the United Nations”, as millions are at risk of starvation and famine across the Horn of Africa, Nigeria and Yemen, due to lack of rain and prolonged insecurity. In Somalia, the UN also says more than half the 12 million population need aid. Earlier this month, the United Nations (UN) children’s agency revised upwards its estimate of the number of acutely malnourished children in Somalia to 1.4 million, saying it had “shot up” by 50%. Amid the unprecedented threat of starvation, leaders are gathering in London for a one-day high-level conference co-chaired by Somalia’s new President Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” Mohamed, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and British Prime Minister Theresa May to discuss the humanitarian crisis and security situation in Somalia.
As international institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the League of Arab States are set to attend the gathering, leaders will be asked to relieve Somalia’s arrears – a debt crisis Somalia did not create. Indeed, the bulk of the debt can be traced back to the 1970s and 1980s, when Siad Barre, the country’s military dictator, went on a spending and borrowing blowout, buying arms and building extensive infrastructure projects.
The Greater Horn of Africa nation’s external debt stands at about $5.3bn (£3.9bn), or roughly 80% of GDP. Analysts estimate that, at repayment rate, it would take 60 years to repay the arrears. However, chances of the world’s fifth-poorest nation to repay this debt are nil.
- World Leaders Urged to Cancel Somalia’s $5.3bn Debt Amid Threat of Imminent Famine (International Business Times)
- First Phase Of London Conference Kicks Off Today (Garowe Online)
- Qatar – Somalia Talks (Hiiraan Online)
- Egypt’s Army Sends Food and Medical Aid to Somalia in Drought Relief (Ahram News Agency)
- British UN Leaders To Address Somalia Humanitarian Crisis (Associated Press)
- An Enterprising And Humanitarian Policy For Somalia (Daily Sabah)
First Phase Of London Conference Kicks off Today
11 May – Source: Garowe Online- 285 words
An International conference on the future of Somalia has on Wednesday commenced in London, the capital of the United Kingdom. The President of Somali Federal Government,Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has arrived yesterday with high-level delegation and attended its first side event about the Diaspora and civil society contribution to Somalia. During his speech, President Farmajo has thanked the Somali Diaspora for their great contributions in nation rebuilding efforts and humanitarian assistance they provided to their brothers and sisters in the drought-affected areas in Somalia. The President also announced that his government will establish a national Diaspora agency to spearhead government’s engagement in political, economy, development and peace-building process.
In attendance were officials from International organizations and United Nations, including the UN’s special envoy, and the Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Michael Keating and Peter de Clercq respectively. Yesterday’s meeting in London paves the way for a high-level conference scheduled to kick start on Thursday, May 11, in which the Somali President will co-chair along with the British Prime Minister Theresa May. Representatives from over 40 nations, donors and Somalia’s International partners will attend the conference. During the meeting, President Farmajo is expected to request a unified and solid support for his new government in their effort to bring the needed political stability and development in the horn of Africa nation. The issues that will dominate Thursday’s meeting include security, rebuilding national Army, political development, 2020 election , revival of the economy, and the cooperation between Somalia and the international community. This is the third International conference on Somalia that UK government is hosting in London since 2012, aimed to transform the country from a failed state to a stable nation with functioning government institutions.
11 May – Source: Hiiraan Online – 89 words
Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo) met yesterday with Qatar’s Foreign Minister his Honorable Excellency Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani on the sidelines of the international conference in support of Somalia, to be held in London today. They reviewed relations between the two brotherly countries, ways to bolster them, as well as a number of issues of mutual interest. The Foreign Minister reiterated Qatar’s commitment to supporting the brotherly Somali people in countering the challenges they face and their efforts towards building a stable state and achieving sustainable development.
11 May – Source: Ahram News Agency -129 Words
The Egyptian armed forces has sent a C-130 military transport plane with food and medical supplies to Somalia on Thursday upon the directive of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi as state news agency MENA reported. Over half of the African country’s population is facing a crisis due to an immense wave of drought. Life-threatening child malnutrition rates are rising to alarming levels in Somalia, the international aid group Save the Children said Thursday.
The drought has left 6.2 million people — more than half of the population of Somalia — in need of immediate lifesaving assistance. A further 8.3 million in Kenya and Ethiopia are also in need of urgent help,said Hassan Saadi Noor, Save the Children’s Somalia country director. Noor said he fears seeing “children dying in significant numbers.”
11 May – Source: Associated Press -129 Words
Britain is hosting a high-level conference to address the deepening humanitarian crisis and security situation in Somalia.Prime Minister Theresa May and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres are expected to speak Thursday along with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.Charities working to stave off famine in Somalia are urging that the African country’s debts be cancelled.
Save the Children Chief Keven Watkins said the African country “continues to drift toward an avoidable famine.” He called for “decisive action” including increased help from the World Bank.Guterres said in a statement that a famine has thus far been averted but the threat is deepening.He said that “we fear the worst.”Hundreds of thousands of Somalis, the vast majority women and children, have been displaced by a drought since November.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“The message of the Turkish government’s enterprising and humanitarian foreign policy is that Turkey is a partner that sees beyond the current headlines and looks forward to a future when Africa, including most definitely Somalia, will attract international attention as a continent of peace, prosperity and opportunity,”
11 May – Source: Daily Sabah – 733 Words
Much has happened since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, together with his spouse and six government ministers, landed in Mogadishu in 2011 to give the Somali people and the world a historic message. At a time when Somalia had almost lost all hope in their future, the president had reassured them that Turkey believes in the future of Somalia and Somali people will not walk alone. And, just when no world leader dared to visit Mogadishu in two decades and no country committed to help, President Erdoğan led the way.
In the intervening years, Turkey has pulled all levers to help bring Somalia development back on track. Turkey has built a vast network of infrastructure including roads, the Mogadishu airport and harbor. The Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Hospital provides healthcare at international standards to Somalis. A former president of Somalia, Mr. Hassan Sheik Mahmoud, was to describe the Turkish way of development partnership in vivid terms: “The Turkish model in Somalia is very, very clear… They said we want to do this thing in Somalia, and they do it.” He added: “Today Mogadishu is cleaner because of the support of the Turks. They provided the garbage collection trucks and everything and the city is cleaner today.” Turkish Airlines has remained as the sole non-African airline regularly connecting Mogadishu to the world. Turkey has embraced all of Somalia and all Somalis and has done this earnestly.
Since 2011, Somalia has come a long way. Somalia is now proceeding on the path of stability and development. It has instituted a federal state and successfully conducted presidential and parliamentary elections. Governance institutions are being built step by step. President Erdoğan’s visit marked a turning point and we have come to the point when the London High Level Conference this week will bring together a large coalition in support of Somalia. I am grateful that the U.K. and U.N. have heeded Turkey’s long-time call to engage in efforts to assist Somalia’s normalization.
Notwithstanding significant progress, there is much more to be done. In the economic field, Turkey has already contributed over $600 million to Somalia’s development projects. There is a Somalia National Development Plan with a set of concrete objectives. In order to facilitate the realization of this plan, the international community can erase the debt burden of Somalia and support a prioritized set of national objectives. We must also support President Muhammed’s strong emphasis in tackling corruption and instituting good governance that would use resources to be made available to Somalia by the international community and of course its own resources effectively to the benefit of the whole of Somalia. Somalia is endowed with rich human and natural resources and a strategic geographical location. We need to support them tangibly and predictably in their development efforts.
IMAGE OF THE DAY
President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and British PM, Theresa May at the London Conference on Somalia.