IMF Okays Somalia To Source $41m To Issue New Currency
17 May – Source: Goobjoog News – 443 Words
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given Somalia the go-ahead to source for funds to issue new bank notes noting the Horn of Africa nation will need $41 million to roll out the first phase of the currency reform process. The global lender said in an assessment letter to the Central Bank of Somalia this week, that Somalia had fulfilled the requisite measures to proceed with issuance of new currency following the completion of the first and second Staff-Monitored Programmes (SMPs) which ended April. The government is currently negotiating the third SMP. “The authorities will need the support of the donor community to raise the needed funds, $41 million, for this project,” the IMF said in a letter to the CBS. “The budget will cover the entire operation of Phase I which includes all aspects of the issuance and distribution of the new currency.”
Phase one will only cover the replacement of the existing counterfeit notes in circulation with genuine notes. The letter advises that in phase one, the CBS will only issue new small-denominations (i.e., 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; and 10,000) of Somali shilling banknotes to replace the counterfeits currently in circulation. Injection of new Somali shilling banknotes including larger denominations, will only take place during phase II which will require significant preparatory work, including strengthening the CBS’s institutional capacity and developing independent monetary policy instruments and reserve management guidelines, the letter adds.
The CBS requested for the letter from the IMF to share with donors and mobilise funding. A total of 752.5 million new bank notes will be printed in phase one corresponding to 1,750 billion Somali shilling notes to be exchanged. The issuance of new notes will be a first since 1991 and will be a major milestone towards the debt relief under the HIPC Initiative. The Fund on Tuesday lauded Somalia for progress in building institutions and improving economic performance. It cited budget execution, the treasury and cash management frameworks, and domestic revenue collection are improving as areas which have recorded significant progress.
Prime Minister Hassan Khaire said last week the country was on course to pre-arrears clearance by July. Clearance of arrears owed to the IMF and World Bank is a mandatory step in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. “It is our hope that with the support the international community is providing and the hard work and dedication of our people that we will be eligible for pre-arrears clearance funding by July 2018 in addition to the direct budget support recently announced by the European Union when I was in Brussels,” the PM said during the EU Day celebrations last week.
- IMF Okays Somalia To Source $41m To Issue New Currency (Goobjoog News)
- Somali Cabinet Approves Country’s First Aviation Bill (Halbeeg News)
- Security Minister Tells Residents To Remain Calm After False Attack (Hiiraan Online)
- AMISOM Changes Approach In Somalia (News Vision)
- AU Special Representative For Somalia Reiterates Support For The Transition Plan (AMISOM)
- How Educational Programs In Africa Can Help Counter Violent Extremism (Washington Post)
Somali Cabinet Approves Country’s First Aviation Bill
17 May – Source: Halbeeg News – 194 Words
Somali cabinet has approved the country’s first Aviation Bill just months after Somalia regained control of its airspace. The bill drafted by the Ministry of Aviation gained the support cabinet members, during the weekly cabinet meeting in Mogadishu. Somalia has not yet managed to fully control its airspace, despite taking responsibility of its air control from United Nations Agency.
In a meeting chaired by Somali Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Khaire, the members deeply discussed the draft which is meant to regulate the country’s aviation. Somalia’s Aviation and Air Transport Minister, Mohamed Abdullahi Salad during the meeting said, that his ministry has been working on the draft to meet the international standards. “We had lengthy discussions with aviation experts and perused through the country’s former aviation laws to make this draft standard. We have worked around the clock to complete the draft of this bill,” said Salad.
Air-traffic over Horn of Somalia had been controlled by United Nation from neighbouring Kenya since 1990 after the collapse of Somalia’s central government. In 2017, the country completed the aviation control centre in Mogadishu.
Security Minister Tells Residents To Remain Calm After False Attack
17 May – Source: Hiiraan Online – 127 Words
The Minister of National Security, Mohamed Abukar Islow Duale, has asked Mogadishu city’s residents to remain calm after Al-Shabaab militants filled plastic bags with light explosives and fireworks were detonated to “scare the residents”. Many residents from Waberi, Howl-Wadag and Hamar-weyne reported mortar attacks in their neighbourhoods from 7 PM to just after 10 PM. The security minister dispelled those fears and urged the residents remain vigilant.
He added that the security forces were fully committed to protecting residents during the holy month of Ramadan. The home of a former District Commissioner was attacked by suspected militants after two grenades were lobbed into the former official’s house. There were no serious injuries reported in the attack. The government of Somalia has heightened the terror and security alert in and around the capital. Al-Shabaab militants have threatened to intensify their activities during Ramadan.
17 May – Source: New Vision – 556 Words
The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has nurtured a culture of sharing surplus logistics with the communities where they are deployed to keep peace in the various communities in Somalia. It is one of the strategies in creating a rapport and strengthening their relationship with the respective communities, which has become effective in isolating the al Shabab militants.
Major Joram Kabegambire working at the Battle Group 22 located at Ceel Jaale in Marka district in the Lower Shabelle region, about 120 km South of Mogadishu, said that in addition to other strategies, the forces organize and give out their relief to communities mainly women and children. He said that in addition, during the month of Ramadhan (Fasting Period), they share their food stuffs like sugar, yoghurt, fruits, biscuits and others.
In appreciation of this gesture, during the last Christmas, according to Kabegambire, the community at Ceel Jaale donated a cow, two goats and chicken to the peace keepers to let them celebrate the day. “We prepared meals and invited them here, we ate together as a way of solidarity and show brotherly love,” he explained.
It is for this reason that eventually community members get close and talk to the forces freely, which gives them the confidence to immediately report any suspicious people in their localities, who could be plotting an attack on the forces. During a recent meeting with chiefs and clan elders from the region at Battle Group 22 headquarters, the commander, Col. Bonny Bamwiseki reiterated that the force has been encouraging dialogue between the different rival clans with a purpose of stopping the fighting amongst themselves, reconcile and work together to eliminate al Shabab.
17 May – Source: AMISOM – 606 Words
The top African Union Special Representative for Somalia Ambassador Francisco Madeira has reiterated AMISOM’s support for the recently endorsed transition plan but called for a cautious implementation to protect gains made in stabilizing the country. Ambassador Madeira made the remarks, on Wednesday, while presiding at a medal awards ceremony for 21 staff officers, who will be rotating out of the Mission after completing their tour of duty. “All our commanders have said yes to the transition. All of them without exception; the sector commanders who bear the brunt of this war despite all the challenges said yes to the transition,” he added.
Ambassador Madeira noted that the transition is a necessity, driven by a number of factors but should be implemented cautiously, so as not to erode the gains made in Somalia over the last decade. “We need to transition because the Somali’s want us to transition, because the partners feel that we should transition and we are going to transition, but, frankly, and in all honesty, we would not want to see the things that we won with so much sacrifice to go down the drain,” said Ambassador Madeira, who is also the head of the Mission. “We don’t want that and this is the challenge we are facing now,” he added.
Last year, the UN Security Council authorized a gradual troop reduction amid transition of security responsibility to Somali National Security Forces. AMISOM, the Federal Government of Somalia and development partners have agreed on a transition plan, which was the topic of discussion at a high-level meeting in Brussels early this month.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
“In Somaliland the combination of education and civic engagement opportunities had the greatest impact on reducing support for political violence. However, this new study also highlights the fact that the same program can yield different results.”
17 May – Source: Washington Post – 888 Words
Somalia’s capital has been rocked by multiple bomb attacks in the past few months, and a May 6 blast in a border town killed seven Kenyan soldiers. In recent months, a series of bombings left dozens dead or injured. Most analysts believe that al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda-backed extremist group that has waged an insurgency against the federal government for more than 10 years, is responsible for these attacks.
The recent violence comes in the wake of devastating twin truck bombs that killed hundreds in Mogadishu in October 2017. Despite making gains in security and governance during the past year, Somalia continues to struggle to escape the trap of conflict and instability. With the United States currently escalating its military presence in Somalia, a major question for the Somali government, U.S. forces and others actors on the ground is how to counter the appeal of violent groups among young people — their common recruits.
This is also a vital question for governments engaged in conflict zones around the world. Some, including Somalia’s leaders, see increasing access to education as a way to address disaffected youth’s frustrations with the status quo and steer them away from armed groups like al-Shabab. Does this approach work? And if so, does it work everywhere? We set out to explore the common assumption that educational programs will help counter violent extremism.
Working with the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, Mercy Corps — the global organization for which we work — designed a study to help us understand how secondary education affects young people’s support for political violence. We focused on the Somali Youth Learners Initiative (SYLI), a USAID-funded program implemented by Mercy Corps and other partners. Across Somalia, the program improved access to secondary education, reaching almost 25,000 young people. SYLI also worked with youth in and outside of school to develop leadership skills and facilitate opportunities to improve their communities through civic engagement activities.
In a new report, we describe how the program — both by itself and in combination with civic engagement activities — changed young people’s attitudes toward opposition groups like al-Shabab. We focused on areas of Somalia previously under the control of armed groups and al-Shabab. We employed quantitative and qualitative data, surveying 1,220 Somali youth and conducting in-depth interviews with another 40 young people in 2017. We compared students in SYLI-supported schools to out-of-school youth to understand how the program influenced their willingness to support or aid armed opposition groups.
We found that the provision of secondary education through SYLI significantly reduced support for violence. In-school youth were half as likely (48.2 percent) to support armed groups as out-of-school youth. Further, the combination of SYLI-supported secondary education and civic engagement activities like advocacy campaigns and community service projects had an even greater effect on reducing support for violence. Our results show students offered civic engagement opportunities were 64.8 percent less likely to support political violence than non-engaged youth.
This study reinforces some of what we learned when we tested the same program in the self-declared independent region of Somaliland a year earlier. In Somaliland the combination of education and civic engagement opportunities had the greatest impact on reducing support for political violence. However, this new study also highlights the fact that the same program can yield different results. We noted that education reduced support for political violence in South Central Somalia and Puntland, while our survey found that education may increase such support in the relatively peaceful areas like Somaliland.
As it turns out, context matters — even within the same country. In parts of Somalia where the provision of basic services is limited, increasing access to secondary education improved young people’s perceptions of the government. We think this led to a reduction in support for armed opposition groups. However, in the more developed and stable Somaliland, where people expected their government to provide higher levels of services, it’s a different story. In some cases, the provision of education does not appear to be enough to stop youth from supporting political violence.
These studies have important implications for development programs in conflict-affected countries. The full impact that stability programs have on violence is driven in part by the context in which they are implemented. In countries emerging from conflict with few, if any, functioning systems, simply investing in basic services such as education can be a quick win for the government — and for donors focused on promoting stability. In the long term, however, this gain in popular support is not enough.
As conflict-affected areas of Somalia eventually stabilize and develop, education alone will likely not address all the grievances that drive youth to support political violence. Education gives young people the chance to gain knowledge and skills, but it also raises expectations and awareness of what citizens are lacking. Young people can grow angry and frustrated if they perceive the government is unable or uninterested in meeting their needs.