The first day of an international conference on Somalia wrapped up yesterday, May 31, with appeals for long-term investments and the creation of a multidonor fund for the country. How to deliver aid given Somalia’s complex political situation, meanwhile, remains up for discussion.
The political dimension of international assistance for Somalia is set to be tackled during the second and final day of the conference in Istanbul, Turkey. Participants of the conference include senior Somali officials and representatives from more than 53 countries and international organizations.
The two-day conference was held to discuss the future of Somalia beyond August 2012, when the mandate of the current Transitional Federal Government expires. Participants are also aiming to agree on a common international approach to Somalia.
Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali suggested one possible approach: To pool international assistance in a multidonor trust fund. He said the country is ready for long-term development and argued that “Somalia’s future is in the hands of Somalia.”
The top U.N. official for Somalia, meanwhile, called for a “paradigm shift in international assistance” in order to build the country’s resilience against future crises.
“This will take real partnerships, strategic vision and integrated multi-sectoral approaches and reliable multi-year funding,” Augustine Magiha, the U.N. secretary-general’s special representative to Somalia, said during the conference.
Magiha also highlighted the need to expand access to affordable and sustainable energy, which he said is key to developing Somalia’s private sector.
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