Sunday, September 15, 2013
The EU hosts a "milestone" international conference on Somalia on
Monday aimed at underpinning economic and political recovery after two
decades of bloody civil war.
Some 50 high-level delegations from
Africa, Europe, the Gulf and elsewhere are expected for the "New Deal in
Somalia" event, gathering President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, other Somali
leaders, world aid groups and global finance institutions.
will not just be managing conflict, on Monday we will be signalling and
kick-starting the consolidation of peace and stability in Somalia," said
Alexander Rondos, the EU's Horn of Africa envoy.
ambassador to Somalia Neil Wigan said the conference was "a major
milestone" after the country's remarkable progress over the last year."
diplomats hoping to see more than a billion euros in pledges, Wigan
said "our combined efforts will maintain momentum and deliver the change
that the people of Somalia desperately need."
In January, Mohamud
won formal US recognition of his government for the first time since
the 1991 overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre that plunged the
country into civil war.
For the past year it has seen a president,
government and parliament function without interruption but the
fragility of its institutions means it cannot yet be given loans and
will have to accept grants.
At stake Monday will be the approval
of a New Deal Compact setting out the federal government's political,
security and economic priorities, agreeing a fund to support the
programme, and ways of monitoring international support in the future.
on the current agenda is a Somali campaign 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.
2008-2013 period, the European Union provided 1.2 billion euros in aid
to the country -- 521 million euros in development cooperation and 697
million euros in the field of security.
The largest slice of that
is funding for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), comprising
some 17,000 troops and launched in 2007 with UN Security Council
It props up the weak central government in Mogadishu and
fights alongside its army, seizing a string of towns from the Islamist
But the authorities have been dealt a number of setbacks in recent months, including several deadly Shebab attacks.
most brazen recent attack was a suicide commando assault on a fortified
UN compound in the centre of Mogadishu in June that killed 11.
at least 18 people were killed in Mogadishu on September 7 when two
blasts rocked a popular restaurant, police said, in attacks quickly
claimed by Shebab Islamists.
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.