The United States this month joined nations from around the world in providing additional financial aid to promote democracy and economic growth in Somalia. Delegates from 50 nations in Africa, Europe and the Persian Gulf region met in Brussels, Belgium, to endorse a “New Deal Compact” with international donors, pledging $2.7 billion to support existing government programs in five critical areas: inclusive politics, security, justice, economic foundations, revenue and services. The U.S. announced $69 million to promote and strengthen ongoing efforts in stabilization, economic growth, education, democracy building, governance and rule law.
It was one year ago, as Somalia was emerging from decades of lawlessness and civil war, that Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was sworn in as president, ending the period of transitional government. The United States recognized the government of Somalia for the first time since 1991.
Through the new compact, our support to Somalia and the Somali people will continue to deepen. We are committed to working with the Somali people and the Federal Government of Somalia to improve the lives of everyday Somalis, and to enhance our diplomatic and development relationships.
In joining with other nations to sustain this commitment, we recognize the progress made in Somalia in the past year. This would not have been possible without the dedication and effort of the many Somalis who make a daily decision to focus on a future built on hope and peace, rather than on conflict and despair.
Despite the progress in breaking al-Shabaab’s hold on Somalia’s major urban areas, it maintains a regional presence and remains a regional threat. The recent events in Nairobi at the Westgate Mall, where al-Shabaab terrorists have claimed the lives of so many, horrifies and saddens us. This event underscores the imperative of the United States and the international community to stand firm in our support to the Somali government and people as they work to combat terrorism and insecurity.