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USAID's new, $40 Million, 5 Year People-Centered Governance Activity
6 MINUTE READ
November 28, 2023

Remarks from U.S. Embassy Officials at Launch of USAID People-Centered Governance Activity

As Prepared for Delivery

Remarks by Shane Dixon, Charge d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy Mogadishu

Minister Fiqi, esteemed colleagues, ladies and gentlemen.  I’m excited to join you today, as we launch the USAID People Centered Governance activity.

The United States values its strong relationship with Somalia.  I would like to thank the Somali government at both Federal and State levels for providing the necessary political support for the USAID People Centered Governance activity during its design phase and for reaching swift agreement on the location of the first cohort of districts for the project’s first year.  We can now move quickly into implementation.  Your commitment sets the stage for tangible, positive change.

The U.S. government-funded People Centered Governance activity – designed in cooperation with the Somali government – represents U.S. commitment to helping Somalia address a critical local governance gap by enhancing the visibility, effectiveness, and functionality of district councils.  Good governance is integral to Somalia’s long-term stability, and this activity aims to support local governments to become increasingly fair and effective in meeting citizens’ needs, thereby mitigating the influence of violent extremist groups.

District councils play a key role in promoting a robust two-way relationship between government and communities.  They are key to ensuring that community priorities are not only considered but actively reflected in the actions of local governments.

We encourage Somali ownership of this program.  Your active participation, insights, and collaboration will be the driving force behind this project’s success.  While the People Centered Governance project will offer some resources to help catalyze the implementation of local priorities, its bigger emphasis will be to help district councils to mobilize domestic revenue and to expand the use of public-private partnerships to benefit communities.

On a national level, the USAID People Centered Governance activity will work to advocate for broader policy reforms.  The first critical steps will be to refresh the Wadajir Framework on Local Governance and to integrate local government into the broader fiscal federal structure.  These reforms are imperative for the sustained success of district councils, ensuring they become resilient pillars of Somalia’s governance landscape.

Today, we celebrate not just a program launch but our commitment to a Somalia where citizens have faith in their government, and extremism finds no fertile ground for their operations.

Thank you for your attention and collaborative commitment to this shared vision.

 

 

Remarks by Lisa Campbell Gutierrez, USAID Office Director for Democracy, Stabilization and Governance

Minister Fiqi, government officials, ladies and gentlemen.

As the USAID Somalia Mission Director, I am honored to introduce the latest addition to the USAID Somalia program portfolio – the People Centered Governance Activity. This program aligns with our shared objectives of fostering effective governance and diminishing the influence of Al-Shabaab.

In committing $40 million over five years to this project, we are highlighting the fundamental importance of local governance for a stable and flourishing Somalia.

In my consultations with you, I’ve learned about the remarkable progress the Somali state has achieved over a short period of time to re-establish local governance in newly recovered areas and to solidify gains in regions already under government control. But these gains demand more than celebration – they demand sustainability.

While USAID has made significant investments in stabilization programs like Transition Initiatives for Stabilization (TIS) III, we’ve learned that sustaining the stabilization gains requires a continued investment in local governance. USAID through PCG steps into this crucial gap, focusing on supporting district councils to better manage resources, handle disputes fairly, and deliver tangible benefits to their communities.

PCG’s design is rooted in two critical lessons learned from past local governance efforts in Somalia.

  • First, efforts to establish and support new district councils must go hand-in-hand with rebuilding trust between communities and addressing unresolved grievances.
  • Second, already formed district councils in Somalia are fragile and require sustained support to prevent atrophy.

I am pleased to announce that PCG, recognizing the priority and needs expressed by federal and state officials, will expand into Galmudug state – beyond the initially envisioned Jubaland, Southwest State, and Hirshabelle. This move underscores PCG’s responsiveness to the evolving fight against al-Shabaab and close collaboration with our government counterparts.

In closing, PCG represents more than a program—it’s a transformative commitment to stronger, legitimate, and responsive local governance that can counter the influence of extremist groups.

Thank you for your commitment to this program. Together, we can make a difference in the lives of Somalis.

 

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