Remarks by Jeffrey N. Bakken, USAID Mission Director on behalf of the International Community to the Somalia Partnership Forum

  • Excellences, Ladies, and Gentlemen: On behalf of the International Community to the Somalia Partnership Forum, I am extremely pleased to be here today to participate in this joint re-affirmation of the principles underlying the New Partnership for Somalia agreed in London in May 2017. The London Conference outlined a vision for Somalia that I know we all share: a future characterized by “enduring peace, security, and prosperity.”
  • The various commitments we have spent the day discussing represent a set of shared priorities for how to get there. There are important roles for government – Federal and Member States – the international community, the private sector (one of Somalia’s greatest strengths), and civil society.  That is really what partnership is all about: each of us doing our part to deliver on shared goals.
  • The Mutual Accountability Framework (MAF) details what we need to accomplish in the near-term – the next 15 months. The 9th National Development Plan (NDP-9) does it for the medium-term.  We would like to congratulate the Federal Government once again, and particularly the Ministry of Planning, for developing a technically sound and inclusive NDP-9.
  • While we await the final version of NDP-9 and the joint review of the Plan by IMF and World Bank staff, the drafts we have seen reflect solid efforts to address the core elements of an interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper, as required for decision point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries’ (HIPC) debt relief initiative.
  • We were particularly impressed by the depth of both the consultation process and poverty analysis presented in the documents, the overarching strategy to prioritize interventions that address multiple dimensions of poverty, and the establishment of a manageable set of meaningful indicators to measure progress over time.
  • Given these strengths, we see NDP-9 as the aggregate reflection of the Somali people’s development priorities, behind which we are committed to aligning our support. More specifically, we are committed to working with the Federal Government to bring greater shares of development assistance “on plan,” in alignment with the priorities outlined in NDP-9.
  • Some donors also have plans to increase support provided “on treasury”. Combined with strong progress toward HIPC decision point, and the potential for significant new resources resulting from the normalization of Somalia’s relationship with the international financial institutions, it is critical that we work together to continue to strengthen the systems of accountability in Somalia – to ensure these resources are put to their best uses.
  • We therefore strongly encourage passage of an external audit bill that conforms to internationally recognized standards of independence, which will help strengthen adherence to prudent fiscal management practices and thus support macroeconomic stability and economic growth.
  • We also encourage the Federal Government to clarify the legal and regulatory framework governing NGOs. NGOs, along with the private sector, are essential partners in the achievement of our shared priorities – as service providers and advocates for continued reform progress.  They therefore need a clear legal and regulatory framework that protects their constitutional freedoms of association, assembly, and expression for the proper execution of their mandates.
  • Finally, I would like to conclude by welcoming the opportunity His Excellency the Prime Minister, Hassan Ali Khaire, recently extended to us to hold more regular dialogue with heads of development cooperation. He requested that we work together to determine how development resources can best support the Government’s reform agenda and thereby enhance the authorities’ legitimacy in the eyes of the people.
  • This is precisely the type of conversation we would like to engage in with the Somali government – both Federal and Member States – on a regular basis under a more streamlined and strategic “aid architecture.” And we are committed to working with the Government to reform the aid architecture in ways that serve to motivate progress on our shared priorities, as outlined in the MAF for the near-term and NDP-9 over the medium-term.
  • Thank you. Mahad Sanid.