Somalia to receive $2.4B in aid from international donors


A handout picture taken and released by the African Union-United Nations Information Support team on February 28, 2013 shows a Ugandan soldier serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) handing out biscuits to young Somali children.

International donors have pledged to give Somalia a further $2.4 billion in aid to support democratic institutions and rebuild the economy after more than two decades of conflict.

The European Union will supply $870 million, while other countries, including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany and Sweden, will chip in the rest, EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said.

EU nations gave Somalia $1.6 billion between 2008 and 2013. Much of the money was used to pay African Union troops fighting to reclaim Somali land from Al Qaeda-affiliated militant group Al Shabaab.

The new aid will support a "new phase in the life of Somalia,” Barroso said.

The election of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, an engineer and former academic, in September 2012, raised hopes that Somalia, long mired in civil war, would finally stabilize.

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However, the government continues to be threatened by Al Shabaab, which still controls territory in the south, and members of Somalia’s new government have been accused of corruption.

Mohamud said he would spend the money on four priorities: security, legal reform, public finances and economic recovery.

“The new deal focuses on peace and state-building,” Mary Harper, Somalia analyst for the BBC, said. “Without these, goes the argument, there can be no meaningful development, and aid money simply goes to waste. This has certainly been the case in Somalia, where billions of dollars have been thrown at a problem that refuses to go away.”

Al Shabaab said it expected that donors would not fulfill their pledges or the money would be diverted by corrupt officials.