UK pledges to deepen support to Somalia
British government minister Grant Shapps has told the Somali people that the UK will increase its humanitarian and development support to Somalia.
Shapps, who is minister of state at the Department for International Development (DFID), met with president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, prime minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke and other Somali government ministers at the weekend.
The UK minister, who visited Mogadishu and Hargeisa for the first time, pledged new support for renewable energy in Somaliland.
A DFID-backed green energy programme will pilot mini hybrid grids, which will combine solar power with existing diesel generators to provide up to 2,000 households with access to reliable, affordable and clean power.
Another pledge will increase access to clean, fresh water in the Hargeisa region which is “important for any country to pull itself out of poverty”, Shapps said during his visit.
“Somalia remains at the heart of the UK government’s foreign policy priorities, which includes meeting the country’s crucial humanitarian and development needs,” he continued.
“Supporting the creation of a secure, stable and prosperous Somalia is vital for the Somali people, the region and the wider world. This is not only the right thing to do: it is firmly in the UK’s own national interest.”
In 2016, Somalia will hold its first democratic election in more than 40 years, but there are obstacles, among them is the attempted disruption by the extremist Islamic terrorist group al-Shabaab. Shapps stressed the importance of a stable and inclusive electoral process, emphasising the critical role the Federal Government has in developing Somali National Security Forces.
The Somali government is also making strides in improving its public financial management with authorities attempting to build a more transparent system to attract additional budget assistance.