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Somalia, UN in talks over election delay amid funding risk

Two United Nations top officials in Somalia said Tuesday they have held talks with the country’s finance minister Abdirahman Beileh on the urgent need to complete the electoral process soon to avoid missing donor funding.

James Swan, UN secretary-general’s special representative for Somalia and Adam Abdelmoula, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia said the meeting resolved to swiftly complete the electoral process in the coming weeks to enable Somalia meet crucial International Monetary Fund (IMF) deadlines.

“All agreed on urgently completing the electoral process in coming weeks, otherwise Somalia will miss key IMF deadlines, jeopardizing international assistance and the health of the Somali national budget,” the UN said in a tweet.

The IMF said in March that its Somalia program is due for a review on May 17, but election delays imply that a new government may not be ready to timely approve planned reforms. It said the review needs to be finalized to prevent the program from automatically lapsing since development partner support is essential to the successful implementation of the authorities’ economic and structural reform strategy.

It warned that if the evaluation of the IMF support programs is not completed by that date, the programs automatically end. “To keep the program on track, IMF staff would, once a president is elected, confirm the authorities’ commitment to the economic program and development partners’ plans to resume budget grants,” the IMF said in a statement on March 9.

Somalia’s electoral body is currently registering newly elected Members of Parliament and Senators in Mogadishu ahead of swearing-in on April 14. This will pave the way for lawmakers to choose a president, a process that has been much delayed. 

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