The AfDB briefed donors on its new Country Brief for Somalia and the status of the Multi-Partner Somalia Infrastructure Fund (SIF). The briefing was chaired by Gabriel Negatu, Director General of the Bank’s Eastern Africa Regional Centre. Representatives from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, UK DfID, USAID, High Commission for India, Delegation of the European Union to Somalia, and the French, Danish and Finnish Embassies participated in the meeting.
The new Country Brief builds on the Bank’s work in Somalia over the past few years and will be aligned to Somalia’s National Development Plan 2017-2019(link is external) by directly supporting the Plan’s goals of developing effective and efficient institutions, restoring strategic infrastructure, and building resilience. The pillars of the CB will position the Bank to tangibly deliver on its High 5s agenda in Somalia. The indicative project pipeline of US$ 110 million has been selected from the SIF project pipeline, which was approved by the Somali Development and Reconstruction Facility (SDRF)(link is external) in November 2016.
The Bank noted that since the establishment of the SIF in October 2016, the Fund has made good progress. Its first two projects – “Improving Access to Water and Sanitation Services in Somalia” and “Strengthening Institutions for Public Works” – were approved in December 2016 and are proceeding well, with disbursement rates for both projects at about 20%.
Key activities include finalising assessments for selected boreholes and mini-water system sites in different regions, with technical designs and bills of quantities prepared and submitted to the Ministry of Energy and Water Resources for approval. Training of Engineers in the Ministry of Public Works, Reconstruction and Housing on structural inspection of buildings has also been undertaken.
Donors present at the meeting provided brief updates on their ongoing and planned infrastructure operations in Somalia. The need to strengthen information sharing among all stakeholders was reiterated.
Finally, it was generally observed that rehabilitating and developing Somalia’s infrastructure is an ambitious agenda, but one that is attainable with the strong support of donors and other stakeholders.