Opening Speech – His Excellency Hassan Sh. Mohamud High-level Partnership Forum – Mogadishu Tuesday 8 December, 10am
Presidents of Regional Administrations, Mr Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Somalia, Excellences, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of the Federal Government of Somalia, it is my pleasure to welcome you today to Mogadishu for the High Level Partnership Forum.
I acknowledge the United Nations in their role as Co-Chair and offer my appreciation for its continued commitment to Somalia.
It is usual at these meetings to focus very positively on the progress made over the past six months.
However, I don’t think we can gather today and discuss the future of Somalia without acknowledging what has occurred in the north of Somalia between Puntland and Galmadug over the past two weeks.
Firstly, let me acknowledge the excellent mediation work of the Prime Minister over the past two weeks. He has protected the interests of the nation in refusing to accept any deal but peace. I am grateful for him responding to my request to act as the Government’s envoy in this situation and salute his tireless diplomacy.
But let me also be very clear. I am terribly disturbed at the outbreak of fighting in Galkacyo. Somalia cannot afford this and we will not tolerate it.
We will not descend in to the chaos of the past.
As I have repeatedly said, Somalis have had enough of war. We want peace. And we want it now. We need peace. We deserve peace.
Without solid, nation-wide peace, our development ambitions cannot be fulfilled. Without peace, we introduce another generation of children to crisis. Without peace, we cannot rightfully take our place of influence in the region, nor in the world. Conflict and crisis distracts us from the business of pursuing what is right and good for Somalia.
As we move closer and closer to the 2016 electoral process, Somalis and the international community alike must protect the stability of Somalia. The next few weeks are critical.
In contrast to the past two weeks, I was delighted to see the intense debate which took place peacefully and collegially in the electoral process consultation forums that were held around Somalia in November.
I am very proud of the work accomplished in support of these forums- undertaken by the Ministry of Interior and Federal Affairs, the technical team, the Taskforce and the National Consultation Forum.
There was a distinct buzz around the forums: positive and future-focussed. It is clear that people want to be involved and want to have their say. It was welcome proof that Somalis have a strong appetite for self-determination in the interest of democracy.
Of course, the hard work of reaching a decision that provides a workable 2016 electoral process must now begin. The support of the international community for a peaceful, inclusive and clear resolution will be invaluable over the next few weeks.
We remain committed to the timeline of reaching a decision by the end of 2015, and sharing a detailed plan to support the process at the HLPF Istanbul in February 2016.
I’m sure the Minister of Interior will provide a more detailed update during the course of today.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a very full agenda today. I just want to touch briefly on a couple of other topics.
The last six months have been packed with progress. This progress is manifesting in many sectors.
I draw attention to significant practical progress in the security sector, with troop integration, and also in the setting up an electronic payment process, along with a realistic serviceable budget for troop payment, and accompanied by biometric registrations.
We are moving ahead with articulating a national security architecture, having undertaken to ensure this is firmed up before HLPF Istanbul. We have also been able to number more than 500 weapons in the government’s stores, signalling our seriousness to ensure that we are fulfilling obligations laid out by the UN Security Council.
AMISOM and the SNA have been able to push forward in several key areas, securing several important towns. What will be critical now is to ensure a coordinated process of stabilisation for those towns, so that Somalis feel and see the benefits of liberation.
I welcome the Ministry of Interior’s excellent work in developing the Wadajir Framework, which articulates the process for, and elements of, developing a joined-up approach to building local governance across Somalia. This is the first wholly government-led programmatic initiative focussed on local governance and I recommend it to the international community.
I believe the Ministry is about to start a process of consultation, and look forward to seeing it adopted as the working framework for reconciliation, civic dialogues, peace dividend processes and local government formation.
I am also pleased to once again point to impressive progress on the financial governance front.
Last year Somalia went through its first “health check” undertaken by the International Monetary Fund, or the IMF, for more than 25 years. We are very proud that the IMF pointed out the “country has made significant progress.”
The IMF also noted the improvement in Somalia’s economic condition, which is reported to have “improved significantly”, achieving growth of 3.7% in 2014. As the IMF report notes, “If the security improvements continue, the entrepreneurial private sector will continue to be the most dynamic contributor to economic growth.” We have worked very hard to improve our financial and economic position.
The Central Bank has worked hard to improve core transaction processes so that money is able to flow through to Ministries in support of their activities and staff.
Considerable progress has been made in strengthening our budget execution controls, with the Somali Financial Management Information System now live.
We have set up the mechanisms that allow us to start oversight systems such as the Financial Governance Committee so that we can be confident that funds, contracts and procurement processes are being set up in a way that ensures transparency of process and results.
The Minister of Finance will speak to this later today.
A critical area of Somalia’s economic recovery will be infrastructure development. We must create a conducive environment for this investment. I would like to emphasize here a very important phenomenon. The FGS and international community have focused very much on the security sector, it is and should be a priority area.
We must start to address other issues. We must continue on security but we need to add another sector. We all know that in the population of Somalia, the population is very young.
This young generation needs a life. They are dependent on violence as a way of life, whether that is legitimate or illegitimate. Thee largest employer in the government is the Somalia armed forces: army, police, security forces. These people are employed to use legitimate violence as a means of stabilisation. Our regional forces employ a lot of people.
These are legitimate employments means. But these sectors cannot employ all Somali youth. There are very many unemployed people so they use violence as a way of life: illegal checkpoints, joining al-Shabaab, becoming pirates. Not because they believe this ideology, but because they need to survive.
We here today are fully responsible for providing an alternative way of life for these people: the government and the donor community together. We need labour intensive programs that can employ as many young people as possible. We need to provide an alternative way of life for these young people who are using the gun as a way of life. Infrastructure is therefore very important for stabilisation – not just for economic recovery.
Three years ago I launched a program called CONSTRUCT YOUR COUNTRY (DALKAAGA DHISO), because I am a firm believer that the Somali private sector must actively participate in the reconstruction of Somalia. And the Somali private sector is rising to the challenge. Yesterday I opened the Somali Fuel Company.
This Company is owned solely by Somali private investors, representing all regions of Somalia. The Somali private sector invested $20 million dollars and will greatly improve the efficiency of refuelling ships. We owe the private sector peace and stability so that their investments can be protected and grow.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in closing, let me focus on the purpose of today’s meeting. Of course, we meet to discuss progress and challenges, but we also meet to ensure that we are on track to meet key obligations due by HLPF Istanbul in February 2016, insha’Allah.
The first on the agenda, that I have already mentioned is to communicate the agreed 2016 electoral process.
The other item of extreme importance that we will discuss in Istanbul and which requires substantive input over the next few weeks is the shape of the post-2016 aid modality.
In 2012 we adopted the New Deal Compact. I am very pleased that Somalia is consistently viewed as being a New Deal success story. The going has not always been easy and both the government and the international community have had much to learn from each other.
By HLPF Istanbul, we have committed to articulating the process by which we will make a decision about post-2016 development aid structures and also the guiding principles that will help us make this decision.
This work is being guided by the Aid Coordination Unit, supported by a Compact Review Task Force and will be informed by the 2015 progress report, an independent assessment of the Compact and its outcomes, processes and principles, and numerous discussions between the government and international community.
I ask that we work hard together to consider how Somalia might be best served by development and aid assistance in the future. We recognise the ongoing support of the international community in helping return peace, stability and prosperity to Somalia.
We look forward to the next few months and commit to the hard work necessary to make them productive in the interests of all Somalis.
This is the final HLPF for our SRSG. Let me thank Nick Kay for his faithful and committed service to the people of Somalia. He has worked tirelessly for the last 2 and a half years to ensure a cohesive and productive relationship between the international community and the Somali government and public. We are indebted to his enthusiasm, energy and clear-sightedness.
We thank his family too, for their generosity in allowing him so much time away from important milestones and events. As Somalis, we know first hand how difficult separation can be for families and we thank them for allowing us so much of his time.
May I ask for a round of applause in recognition of his service, please (stand up and applaud).
I’m sure this will not be good-bye, and we extend a warm hand of friendship to you. You are welcome in Somalia at any time. You are true friend of Somalia. We look forward to welcoming Mr Michael Keating as he assumes his role as SRSG in January 2016. Thank you