Leaders agree €1.8bn deal for Somalia
17.09.13 @ 09:29
BRUSSELS - International leaders pledged €1.8 billion to Somalia on Monday as part of a three year plan to rebuild the war-torn country at a special conference in Brussels.
The aid is part of a "New Deal Compact' agreed with 50 representatives of donor countries, aimed at strengthening the country's fragile political system, and improving security.
For its part, the EU, which has been the largest aid donor to Somalia providing €521 million between 2008 and 2013, has committed €650 million to the programme.
After two decades of civil war, Somalia elected a government in August 2012, its first to be recognised by the international community for two decades, charging with rebuilding political and economic institutions.
For her part, the bloc's foreign affairs chief Cathy Ashton noted that President Mohamud had "been given one of the most difficult challenges in the world."
However, Al-Shaabab, an Al-Qaeda backed militant group, used their Twitter account to dismiss the plan, claiming that the international aid would be "lost in corruption."
The militants, which still control a number of southern provinces of Somalia, are seeking to topple Mohamud's government.
“It’s a bit like Belgian waffles: sweet on the outside but really has not much substance to it," they added.
Meanwhile, the East African country has also signed up to the Cotonou Agreement, the EU's trade and development programme which encompasses 80 developing countries.
Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the step showed that Somalia had "regained its status as a fully-fledged member of the international community."
The agreement was "sign of confidence that the whole international community is sending to the Somali people," he added.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, stated that the plans, which also see Somalia joining other international institutions including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, offered "a very good chance for Somalia to rehabilitate
"The new deal must be delivered on the ground soon; it must not be a well-intentioned bureaucratic process that remains remote from the Somali lives," he added.