New Deal Compact between EU and Somalia
Somalia receives 1.8 billion euros from the European Union and international donors to support further political and sustainable economic development in the East African country. The European Union has come to this pledge together with the Somali government and the international community at ‘A New Deal for Somalia’ Conference in Brussels on September 16, 2013. Somali Diaspora, who attended the conference agree this pledge brings hope for a better future in the country.
With this pledge, the European and Somali officials agreed to support ‘A New Deal Compact’ that has been drawn up following the guidelines to constructing fragile states. These guidelines have been developed by the g7+, countries that are or have been affected by conflict and are in transition to the next stage of development. The Compact, set up by the EU, the Somali government and the international communit during the conference, is the foundation of their mutual commitment to a three year plan that delivers peace, security, economic growth, employment and prosperity to all Somali people.
The pledge of 1.8 billion euro will not be donated at once to the Somali government, but will be provided in smaller parts, directly to the programme-activities. "The programme presented in this Compact is based on consultations with citizens, at the national level and with international partners", explains President Sheikh Mohamud. Citizens, civil society and parliament were consulted in Mogadishu, Baldoe, Galkayo and Garowe. The priorities and principles of the Compact were validated at a multi-stakeholder consultative meeting in September 2013 in Mogadishu. During the conference in Brussels also different groups of Somali people have been listened too. “This indicates how Somalis can get united when it comes to a better future for their country. The Compact can help us to get Somalia back on its feet.”
Education and Gender Equality
Minister of Human Development Maryam Qasim emphasized in Brussels the importance of improving education in the country. “Six out of ten children between six and twelve years old never have seen a class room. Two generations have been lost. I believe the children and our youth are the future of our country, they are the hope of tomorrow. Therefore we launch this year the ‘Go to school’-initiative, which provides access to school for the children in Somalia.” President Mohamud states that 1 million children will receive free education. “This was not even the case twenty years ago when the last government ruled. A government never even paid for education in Somalia. Included in the programme is to train thousands of teachers.” Qasim makes clear that “without education we will not break through this cycle. A better educated Somalia, is a safer Somalia.”
Also gender equality and women participation are crucial to realise peace and development in Somalia, according to Minister Qasim. “We should respond to the serious high rate of gender based violence in the country, including the total eradication of female genital mutilation.”
Improvement of the health sector is another main focus of the Somali government, which is included in the Compact. Within the health sector the government started a pilot of the Essential Package of Health Services (EPHS) programme in several regions in Somalia, where the government begins to roll out the basic health services. “With coordinated international support we hope to be able to expand this to all regions in Somalia.” Another programme that has been initiated is the Joint Health and Nutrition Programme, which aims at improving maternal and child health and reducing mortality. Through this programme the governance of medical centres and access to medicines, vaccines and technology at all levels of the health sector will be improved and the health work force will be developed.
Catherine Ashton, European Union’s foreign policy chief highlights that “the situation in Somalia has been transformed over the past three years. There is now a real atmosphere of activity, emerging governance and hope. It is crucial to use this conference as an opportunity to get into action. It is therefore more important than ever that the international community makes good on its promises of support for the Somali people.” The EU is the largest donor to Somalia with more than 1 billion euros over several years and is engaged through active diplomacy and support to the political and economic development of Somalia. “If our commitment is firm, we cannot fail, and for the sake of the people of Somalia, we must not fail”, states Ashton to motivate the European countries.
Press Conference Part I
Press Conference Part II
Press Conference Q&A