Somalia: African Development Bank Group approves framework to clear nation’s arrears

The African Development Bank and African Development Fund on Wednesday approved a framework  for $122.55 million to clear Somalia’s arrears, paving the way for the Bank Group to fully reengage with Somalia and opening opportunities for enhanced financing for the country.

The historic Framework for Somalia’s Arrears Clearance and a Policy-based Operation was approved at a meeting of the Boards of Directors held Wednesday.

The framework is premised on Somalia having secured donor support to clear all arrears to the Bank Group. This will result in the lifting of sanctions on the country, opening up new finance opportunities.

In response to the decision, the Finance Minister of Somalia, Dr. Abdirahman Beileh, said, “the African Development Bank has accompanied Somalia through the difficult reforms, which can only make Somalia a better place for all Somalis. We are committed to continuing our reforms as we have seen their benefits to our governance systems and capacity to manage our economy, and, more importantly, to improving government accountability to the people.”

The Bank plans to immediately resume normal cooperation with the Federal Government of Somalia as soon as it clears its arrears to the Bank Group. Additional financial resources will be provided to support ongoing and new reforms necessary for Somalia to reach Completion Point under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.

“It is a historic day for us as a Bank. I think collectively we should be very proud of what has happened…difficultiescannot be allowed to exist forever.. because it defeats the very purpose of why we are here to serve,” President of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina said, commenting on the approval. “The sacrifices of the Somali people under the leadership of the Federal Government of Somalia during the implementation of difficult and wide-ranging reforms has been recognized by the wider international community.”

The Bank commits to supporting the country towards reaching completion point, bearing in mind that more reforms to advance the national development agenda to consolidate peace, ensure inclusive economic growth and reduce poverty are still needed,” Khaled Sherif, the African Development Bank’s Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery, added.

Sierra Leone: 160 Peace Keeping Mission personnel return home without pay

By Malcolm Rice

160 personnel of the Sierra Leone police who served under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in Juba Land State Somalia are presently struggling without pay after they returned home.

IG Richard Moigbeh

Police sources say none of the personnel will dare talk.

The team returned home in April 16th 2019 with hopes they will be able to take care of their family needs when they received their pay only to know that modalities weren’t put in place before their deployment.

A source intimated Specimen the Inspector General of Police, Richard Moigbeh said he contacted the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Gloria Tarawallie, who is responsible for peace keeping missions to know why the delay but was told there were no plans.

Police sources also alleged that the United Nations Peace Keeping Mission had informed the Sierra Leone Police that monies will be paid to an individual’s bank accounts of the serving personnel but that the Sierra Leone police insisted the UN Peace Keeping Mission pay through a one bank account.

“The UN Peace Keeping Mission doesn’t operate that way, and they don’t pay the money,” the source said.

The source also alleged the Sierra Leone Police signed a MOU with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for the payment of 735 Euro a month a person.

AMISOM is an active, regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations. It was created by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council on 19th January 2007 with an initial six month mandate.

Personnel deployed in Somalia face one of Africa’s most volatile regions with unpredictable high level of violence and grave human rights abuse perpetrated by Al-Shabaab and war lords. These serving men and women are constantly faced with danger and probable loss of life.

One of the personnel the source disclosed had to be repatriated back home after he suffered a stroke.

After serving a year in Somalia these men and women are left to wonder when they will get their money and how they will pay their rent and take care of their families,

IMF Management Complete the First Review under the Staff-Monitored Program with Somalia

The Management of the IMF on February 5, 2019, completed the first review under the third 12-month Staff-Monitored Program (SMP III) with Somalia, which covers the period May 2018–April 2019.

This current SMP, together with the previous two SMPs (covering May 2016 to April 2018), has been designed to help guide the Somali authorities as they rebuild key economic institutions and undertake critical policy reforms to re-establish macroeconomic stability and establish a track record on sound policy and reform implementation

Thanks to the authorities’ strong commitment, program implementation has been satisfactory, and capacity continues to strengthen, despite a challenging environment.

Somalia’s economy is recovering but further efforts are needed to secure economic resilience and reduce poverty. Since 2017, growth has rebounded, inflation has slowed, and the trade deficit has narrowed. For 2018, real GDP growth is projected at 3.1 percent and end-year inflation at 3.5 percent. The exchange rate has remained stable. But further efforts are needed to improve economic conditions, increase employment and make a significant reduction in poverty. Development and humanitarian partners are working with the authorities on enhancing the country’s resilience. Nevertheless, risks to the outlook and program remain.

The authorities’ efforts to improve domestic revenue mobilization has strengthened revenue performance. This reflects efforts to broaden the tax base, and to develop the tax policy framework and administrative capacity to collect taxes. Data through November 2018 show that domestic revenue reached $161 million (31 percent higher than the same period in 2017), and the overall cash fiscal position was in surplus by $8 million. New budget support grants from the EU and the World Bank are increasing grant revenues and providing further support for reforms and social transfers. Staff commends the authorities for their concerted efforts to improve domestic revenue mobilization.

Bold steps to strengthen public financial management need to continue. Reforms to improve the fiscal framework are ongoing, and the authorities continue to exhibit greater fiscal discipline and are implementing regular monthly fiscal operations reporting.

The authorities’ stepped-up efforts to develop the financial sector are welcome. Staff encourages continued progress on implementing the authorities’ action plan (the Financial Sector Roadmap) for reforming and developing the financial sector. Staff urges the rapid implementation of planned changes to the organizational and governance structure of the Central Bank of Somalia. Staff urges the authorities to bring the mobile money sector under its supervisory and regulatory umbrella as soon as possible. Finally, compliance with anti‑money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regulations must be improved and identified gaps in the framework addressed.

The authorities need to complete a number of additional preparatory steps before launching the first phase of the currency reform. These include securing the needed funds and operational support; operationalizing the accountability framework; and completing the detailed project timeline and communications strategy.

Staff encourages the Somali authorities to sustain their reform momentum. The successful completion of the first two 12-month SMPs (from May 2016 to April 2018), as well as satisfactory performance under the current SMP III, reflects the strength of the authorities’ policy and reform commitment. This continued commitment will help pave the way towards securing the necessary support, including from donors, for eventual debt relief and arrears clearance under the HIPC Initiative. Staff urges the authorities to begin the process of securing the necessary financial assurances to cover the costs of both HIPC debt relief and clearing arrears to the international financial institutions. 

UN urges Somalia to take steps to ensure future elections are not ‘marred’ by rights abuses


UN Photo / Sabir Olad Electoral officials count votes during the electoral process to choose members of the Lower House of the Federal Parliament in Baidoa, Somalia in November 2016.

In a report released on Monday, the United Nations urged Somalia to take steps to ensure future elections are not marred by the human rights violations and abuses committed during the 2016-2017 electoral process.

“Insecurity, weak justice institutions, and an insufficient human rights protection system contributed to the lack of accountability for human rights violations throughout Somalia,” the report says, looking back at the 2016 polls and calling for prompt action to bolster human rights protections ahead of the 2020-2021 electoral process.

The report – from the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the UN human rights office (OHCHR) – details violations and abuses by State security forces, including the police and intelligence agencies, and non-State groups, including Al Shabaab, before, during and after parliamentary and presidential elections held in late 2016 and early 2017.

While it documents the killing of 44 clan leaders and electoral delegates during that period, it reveals that only two of these reported killings were investigated and prosecuted.

As such, the joint report calls for “prompt, independent and impartial investigations into human rights violations and abuses committed in the context of the electoral process.”

In addition, the report highlights repeated attacks, intimidation and other forms of harassment against reporters, human rights defenders and political leaders, noting that this violence “impeded the free flow of information” and undermined “the ability of citizens to benefit from and contribute to democratic processes” in an informed manner.

“As Somalia continues the arduous task of building institutions and constructing peace, respect for human rights must be at the core of this enterprise,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

“This includes guaranteeing all public freedoms, such as the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, and of peaceful assembly and association,” he stressed, adding that “it is essential that victims’ rights to remedy and reparation are respected”.

Because conditions for universal suffrage were not in place in 2016, a system of indirect suffrage was used with 275 electoral colleges of 51 delegates each. The colleges elected the 275 members of the House of the People, who then elected the new President, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, on 8 February 2017.

While this system allowed for a more diverse parliament, with half its members newly elected and women’s representation at 24 per cent (compared to 14 per cent in 2012), “more needs to be done” for the next elections, said the report.

“Women, persons with disabilities, minority clans and civil society groups had limited or no access to the electoral process as it was a political process based on clan distribution,” said Michael Keating, the head of UNSOM. “Looking ahead to elections due in 2020-2021, we are urging the Government to establish a system of representation that is inclusive of all citizens, based on the one person, one vote principle.”

In addition, given that in 2016 the list of candidates included former warlords and a military commander accused of war crimes, the report recommends that candidates be vetted regarding their respect for human rights.

The story published courtesy of the UN

IMF staff commends Somalia for implementing important reforms in challenging conditions

IMF staff has commended the Somali authorities for implementing important reforms in challenging conditions, stating recent developments are broadly favorable despite difficult political and security environment.


Internally displaced Somalis carry their belongings as they flee from drought stricken regions in Lower Shabelle region before entering makeshift camps in Somalia's capital Mogadishu

Famine in Somalia is affecting the economy

On June 20, the management of the IMF completed the second and final review under the second 12-month Staff-Monitored Program (SMP II) with Somalia, and the Managing Director of the IMF approved a third 12-month SMP (SMP III) covering the period May 2018–April 2019. The SMPs for Somalia are designed to help maintain macroeconomic stability, rebuild key economic institutions, and build track record on policy and reform implementation.

IMF staff encourages the Somali authorities to stay the course of reform implementation under the SMP, particularly on public financial management, revenue administration and policy, and monetary and financial sector.

The IMF supports the authorities’ ongoing efforts to launch a new national currency.

Economic activity is rebounding from the effects of the drought in 2017. Reflecting a strong rainy season, sustained remittances and grant inflows, growth in 2018 is projected to increase to 3.1 percent from an estimated 2.3 percent in 2017, and inflation is expected to ease to under 3 percent from about 5.1 in 2017.

Reflecting ongoing reforms, the fiscal position has improved since December 2017. The federal government of Somalia (FGS) recorded a small fiscal surplus in 2017 as a result of

higher-than-programmed domestic revenue mobilization and budgetary grant disbursements. The strong fiscal performance continued through March 2018 due, in part, to

lower-than-projected expenditure and slightly higher domestic revenue.

Program implementation under SMP II has been satisfactory. For December 2017, all indicative targets (ITs) and all but one structural benchmark (SB) were met. Also, the two SBs and all ITs set for March 2018 were met. Considering the satisfactory performance under SMP II and the authorities’ strong commitment to accelerate and broaden the reform agenda, staff supports the completion of the second and final review under SMP II and the authorities’ request for SMP III.

Staff also supports the authorities’ ongoing efforts to launch a new national currency. After nearly two years of the IMF’s technical assistance support, the pre-conditions for the launch of the new Somali Shilling have been nearly completed. In March 2018, IMF staff prepared an assessment letter supporting the CBS’s initiative to issue a new national currency. Staff encourages the authorities to continue to reach out to donors to raise the needed funds for this operation, finalize the establishment of the accountability framework, and to fully staff the team that will manage the process.

SMP III will build on achievements under the previous two SMPs and will continue to lay the foundation so that Somalia will eventually have a SMP that meets the IMF Upper Credit Tranche (UCT) conditionality which is one of the key requirements for Somalia to reach the Decision Point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. SMP III will focus on broadening and deepening reform implementation to maintain macroeconomic stability and to continue rebuilding institutions and capacity to improve macroeconomic management and governance.

Risks to the program are elevated. Nonetheless, continued commitment to the reform measures under the SMP; and with sustained donors support, particularly on technical assistance, peace and state building, resilience and humanitarian aid, will help mitigate these risks.

More than half a million Somalis affected by floods and heavy rainfall

Flash and river floods, caused by heavy rainfall, in  have affected more than 695 000 people, and displaced nearly 215 000 of these, in the last few days.

Most flooding occurred in the regions of Bakool, Banadir, Bay, Hiraan, Lower Juba, Middle Juba and Middle Shabelle. One of the worst-hit areas includes Belet Weyne, Hiraan, in the Hirshabelle State, where more than 120 000 people — some of whom have already been displaced from their original homes — were forced to flee riverine villages after the Shabelle River burst its banks, destroying houses and crops.

As part of an immediate response, WHO, in close collaboration with the Federal Government’s Ministry of Health, airlifted and prepositioned 30.1 tonnes of emergency medical supplies to Belet Weyne, Baidoa and Kismayo to treat illnesses commonly spread during emergencies. These provisions include basic, essential, medical drugs, oral rehydration supplies (ORS), water-testing kits and cholera treatment supplies. Similar medical supplies will soon be sent to the South West and Jubaland States.

However, WHO estimates an additional US$ 2 million will be required to purchase and distribute emergency supplies to other flood-affected areas. These resources would also fund staff needed to deliver services; monitoring and response to disease outbreaks; and the coordination of all these efforts.

“Once heavy rains pour into the river basins of Ethiopia and Somalia, this spells danger for communities living along the Shabelle and Jubba rivers. The flooding has taken a toll on people living in Gedo, Hiraan, Lower Shabelle, Lower Jubba and Middle Shabelle,” said HE Excellency Dr Fawziya Abikar, Minister of Health, Federal Government of Somalia.

At the onset of the floods, His Excellency Hassan Ali Khayre, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia, briefed international development and humanitarian partners on the heavy flooding and its impact, and requested for emergency assistance to the flood-affected population.

However, the needs are outrunning the support available. “Urgent action is needed to respond to this emergency,” warned Dr Ghulam Popal, WHO Representative for Somalia. “A well-coordinated response by authorities, and local and international organizations averted a cholera epidemic last year. We need a similar response again, now, to save livelihoods and prevent the spread of diseases among an already vulnerable society.”

The Somali Health Cluster, a group of international and national agencies working jointly to improve health in the country, also called for national and regional partners to convene coordination meetings to discuss ongoing response activities and gaps, as well as to scale up the provision of lifesaving health and nutrition services to the people in need.

Flooding can trigger the transmission of water-borne and vector-borne diseases, such as cholera, malaria and dengue fever, and contaminate water sources. To respond to and manage any resulting disease outbreaks in a timely manner, health authorities and WHO have alerted the Early Warning System in Somalia and WHO’s communicable disease surveillance officers to look out for the emergence of any waterborne or vector-borne diseases. Senior Ministry of Health and WHO officials have conducted joint missions to Belet Weyne and Baidoa to meet state and local health authorities, and gather crucial information on the situation.

Urgent needs of the afflicted communities include shelter, food, health, nutritional supplies, access to water and sanitation, latrines, mosquito nets and tents.

Short-term forecasts made by the UN Food and Agriculture-managed Somalia Water and Land Information Management (SWALIM) suggest river levels inside Somalia are expected to continue rising in the coming days with more cases of flooding along the Juba and Shabelle rivers.

Somalis have suffered from natural calamities and civil strife over the years and endured drought, disease outbreaks, and insecurity among other challenges. This has resulted in malnutrition, poor access to health, and prevalent poverty all across the country.

The story published courtesy of the WHO

AUC and AMISOM organize workshop on Electoral Boundaries Delimitation for Somalia

The Department of Political Affairs (DPA) of the African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has organized a training workshop on electoral boundaries delimitation for the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) from 23 to 25 April 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya.


The multi-stakeholder training workshop drew Somali participants from the NIEC, Ministries of Constitutional and Interior Affairs, the Boundary and Federal Commission, Office of the Prime Minister, among others. 

The capacity building workshop on electoral boundaries delimitation is in response to the request from NIEC to the DPA to provide electoral assistance in implementation of its 5-Year Strategic Plan (2017-2021).   Pursuant to Chapter Seven of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, the AU has a mandate to provide electoral support to Election Management Bodies (EMBs) of Member States. Support to NIEC is one of the priority EMBs identified by the DPA in providing sustainable electoral-cycle based technical assistance.

The workshop is conducted at a crucial moment when Somali stakeholders are engaged in constitutional-making process and development of the legal framework for the general elections based on universal suffrage scheduled to take place in 2020-2021. This is the second capacity building initiative by the DPA targeting NIEC and other electoral stakeholders in Somalia, which builds on the training on electoral systems which was conducted in July 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Electoral systems design is inextricably related to the process of electoral boundary delimitation. Collectively, electoral systems and electoral boundary delimitation are crucial in shaping the type of electoral architecture for any country. This training is therefore crucial in contributing to the sustainability of democratic governance, peace and political stability in Somalia. This is in line with AU Agenda 2063, The “Africa We Want”, specifically Aspiration 3 which envisions “An Africa of good governance, democracy, and respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law.”