Turkey challenges donors, aid groups to ‘live’ in Somalia

Tayyip Erdogan, prime minister of Turkey. Photo by: Andy Mettler / World Economic Forum / CC BY-SA

How can the international community best assist Somalia as the country undergoes political transition and aims for stability and development?

By establishing a strong presence within Somalia itself, according to Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. The prime minister argued at a recently concluded conference on Somalia that donors and aid groups “cannot devise the correct policies” and “cannot help” without actually living in the East African country, Reuters reports.

“I invite the international community to open representative offices,” Erdogan, whose government has an embassy in Mogadishu, told conference delegates that included U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and senior Somali officials.

Most donors and aid groups engaged in Somali development and humanitarian projects operate out of Kenya and other nearby countries because of the volatile security situation in Somalia. The United Nations does have an office in Mogadishu, which Ban pledged will be strengthened in the coming months.

In his remarks, Ban reiterated key calls heard during the two-day conference: long-term commitment and investment. He noted that with sufficient international support, Somalia can transform itself.

“We need a comprehensive investment plan that involves all actors,” Ban said. “I ask you to consider how to contribute long-term, predictable support for Somalia.”

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.