The United States is committed to helping the Somali people as they set out on their way toward a bright new future. On January 17th, the United States formally recognized the Government of Somalia for the first time in 22 years. U.S. recognition embodies the U.S. commitment to Somalia’s stabilization, including through the continuing work of USAID on Somalia’s humanitarian and development needs.
In recent years, the United States has been Somalia's largest financial supporter, much of it in the form of humanitarian assistance. But with Somalia’s transition to a new government last year, the United States believes that it is important to improve the country’s stability through targeted interventions that foster good governance, improve economic recovery, and reduce the appeal of extremism while continuing to address humanitarian needs.
USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah saw a “need to build capacity in government and in Somali institutions.”
During his visit to Somalia in late February, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah saw a “need to build capacity in government and in Somali institutions even as we collectively continue to support the basic humanitarian needs that we know do exist,” he said.
Shah noted that, during the height of the crisis, more than four million Somali individuals needed critical emergency humanitarian support. With the number down to one million people in need of humanitarian support, the U.S. Government can replace that kind of aid with capacity support for a more sustainable approach to development.
And so, the USAID is changing the way it operates in Somalia, said Dr. Shah. The United States is devoting another $20 million of humanitarian aid in the form of food assistance to meet ongoing emergency needs, but it will also step up its programs to develop and improve government transparency, capacity, and capability.
“We believe there is great opportunity in Somalia,” said Dr. Shah. “[And] that so long as the government continues to emphasize and make the right choices - to fight corruption and graft, to make its public finances extremely transparent, and to focus on providing the kinds of basic services that the people and the economy will need to be effective over time, we think there's a very bright future.”