The three-day Somalia International Conference in London saw President Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo’s government get new pledges of more than $1.3 billion to help improve stability in the country, mitigate against the famine that has affected 5.5 million people and free the country from the menace of Al Shabaab.
The United Kingdom has pledged $27 million, which will be spent over the next two years to provide training and mentoring to the country’s army and improving security.
The European Union — Somalia’s biggest donor — pledged that member states will this year invest $1.03 billion, which will bring total support to $4.5 billion till 2020.
This includes support for the African Union Mission for Somalia (Amisom), salaries for police, development aid, and $596 million for humanitarian assistance to tackle the devastating effects of the drought.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an additional $900 million for the drought-stricken country.
By the time of the conference, the UN had only realised 30 per cent of the $825 million target it proposed in March to mitigate against the effects of the drought.
But world leaders insisted that President Farmajo deliver on his promises and reminded him that Amisom will not be in the country forever — the African peacekeepers will start a drawdown in 2018.
“We are proposing today a new Partnership for Somalia through which President Farmajo will commit to the development of an inclusive and federal democratic state — and the international community will back him with better targeted support for jobs and livelihoods that can drive economic recovery,” said UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
After the first day of the conference on May 11, the delegation from Somalia were engaged in closed-door meetings with various partners to explain how the government is planning to take the country forward given the goodwill it is currently enjoying.
As world leaders emphasised the need for the country’s security forces — the Somali National Army and police — to take over the security of Somalia, President Farmajo asked the UN to lift the arms embargo to allow the country to arm itself with modern weapons to match those deployed by Al Shabaab.
“We are working with our partners and the Security Council to develop a clearly defined roadmap to the full lifting of the arms embargo. This will include the improvements we must make to our weapons management, command and control systems,” said President Farmajo.