[QODLink]
Africa

EU pledges 650 million euros to Somalia

International donors meet in Bruseels to approve a "New Deal" for Somalia to drive its economic and political recovery.

Last Modified: 16 Sep 2013 11:20
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Attacks by Al Shabab have dented confidence in Somalia's security [EPA]

The European Union is pledging 650 million euros to Somalia for 2013-16, said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

"Somalia has made important progress this year," Barroso said after talks with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on Monday, adding however that "problems and challenges remain."

"This funding will contribute to all peace- and state-building goals," said EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs, adding that the bloc would additionally continue to fund the African Union peacekeeping mission in Somalia.

International donors began work on a "New Deal" for Somalia to drive its economic and political recovery after two decades of bloody civil war.

Some 50 high-level delegations from Africa, Europe and the Gulf were attending the one-day meeting in Brussels, along with aid groups and global finance institutions.

The New Deal Compact, to be approved on Monday, sets out the government priorities and outlines future international support.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said he was "very grateful" for all the effort made on behalf of his country, highlighting four priorities among the many tasks ahead -- security, legal reform, public finances and economic recovery.

But Somalia's al-Shabab rebels, which control wide swathes of southern Somalia, on Monday dismissed the conference as a waste of time.

"It's a bit like Belgian Waffles: sweet on the outside but really has not much substance to it. They are just hollow promises of Kufr," the group said on Twitter.

High on the agenda are plans to get one million children into school in a country that has one of the world's lowest enrolment rates -- with only four of every ten children in class.

Shabaab attacks

In recent months, however, several deadly al-Shabab attacks have dented confidence.

In June, a suicide commando assault on a fortified UN compound in the centre of Mogadishu killed 11.

At least 18 people were killed in Mogadishu on September 7 when two blasts rocked a popular restaurant, an attack quickly claimed by the al-Shabab.

With insecurity growing, in August medical aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) closed all its operations in Somalia, after 22 years of working in the Horn of Africa troublespot.

As well as a military training mission in Somalia, the EU runs an anti-piracy operation off the Somali coast, where attacks on shipping have fallen steadily in the past year.

Mohamud's government came to power last September after more than a decade of transitional rule.

398

Source:
AFP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Families of Britons killed in 2013 siege at gas plant in Algeria frustrated by inquiry delay over 'sensitive' materials.
Rhinoceros beetles once drew 40,000 visitors each year to Tamura city, but nuclear disaster has decimated beetle mania.
In run-up to US midterm elections, backers of immigration law changes disappointed by postponement of executive action.
As China reneges on pledged free elections, Tiananmen-style democracy movement spreads out across Hong Kong.
Acquitted of murdering his girlfriend, S African double amputee athlete still has a long and bumpy legal road ahead.
join our mailing list