Jul 27 , 2019

Last year, the real GDP growth of Somalia was an estimated 2.9pc. Classified as being in debt distress, Somalia has a debt estimated at 65pc of GDP.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group approved a 28.9-million-dollar grant for Somalia in recognition of its promising progress toward stabilisation.

Approved on July 19, 2019, by the board of directors of the Bank, the grant will be used to finance water, sanitation and road infrastructure designed to improve livelihoods in Somalia and boost the resilience of the region.

Out of the total budget, nearly 12 million dollars is from the Bank’s Transition States Facility, which was established in 2008 to address weaknesses in the performance-based allocation of resources and has raised two billion dollars so far. The funding is designated to be used for an urban water and sanitation project for the cities of Kismayo and Baidoa.

The project is expected to boost access to potable water and improved sanitation in Jubbaland and the southwestern states of Somalia. It is expected to benefit around 200,000 urban and peri-urban people of Somalia, which has been affected by continuous drought, three decades of civil war and where half of the population lives in poverty.

Last year, the real GDP growth of Somalia was an estimated 2.9pc. Classified as being in debt distress, Somalia has a debt estimated at 65pc of GDP.

The remaining 16.9 million dollars of funding will go to the rehabilitation of roads. The funding is pledged by the African Development Fund, which provides concessional financing for low-income regional member countries and provides technical assistance for capacity building projects and programmes.

The road infrastructure project is designed to enhance connectivity through rehabilitation of some 247Km of roads, on top of the construction of a new 100Km feeder road.

Out of the total funding, the Italian Cooperation contributed 5.2 million dollars through the Transition States Facility, split into 1.6 million dollars for the water and sanitation project and 3.7 million dollars for the road projects.

The European Commission is also contributing 47.1 million dollars in grants for the road infrastructure project, making the total funding from the Commission  64 million dollars under this programme.

The grant will help improve quality of life, inclusiveness and engender resilience in the communities, especially in Kismayo and Baidoa, where an estimated 65pc of the population live below the poverty line, and 70pc are younger than 30 years old and unemployed, according to Akinwumi Adesina (PhD), president of the Group.

“We should look at the whole issue of fragility and transition states in a more comprehensive way. We need to do a lot more engagement. We need to work aggressively to help these countries,” Adesina told board members during the approval process. “It’s important we do what we are doing to build their resilience."

In Somalia, the Bank has 12 ongoing projects with a total commitment of 109.1 million dollars in agriculture, water and sanitation.

“Somalia is showing promising signs of increased stabilisation through the formation of recognised state institutions, fostering a country-owned and led approach to transition from fragility,” said Nnenna Nwabufo, the Bank's deputy regional director-general for East Africa.

PUBLISHED ON Jul 27,2019 [ VOL 20 , NO 1004]

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