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World Bank Group Supports Public Private Dialogue to Spur Economic Recovery in Somalia

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LONDON, May 11, 2017- On the sidelines of the UK-hosted Conference on Somalia, the Somali government and high level business actors endorsed a Public-Private Cooperation Agreement to Accelerate Somalia’s Economic Recovery. The event was supported by the World Bank Group and the British Department for International Development (DFID) and was opened by His Excellency Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmaajo”, President of the Federal Republic of Somalia and Rt. Hon Priti Patel, UK Secretary of State for International Development.

The Agreement is a combination of priority actions, principles and processes for delivery of economic priorities, and a commitment from development partners to align their focus to Somalia’s new National Development Plan 2017-2020.

Opening the event, H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo” recognized the importance of creating the right conditions for investment: “Our Government needs to provide the right governance environment for the private sector to grow, and provide jobs to our people. My Government and I are committed to strong collaboration between the public and private sector, as well as our development partners, to create a new, irreversible chapter in the economy of our country”.

In her opening remarks, Bella Bird, World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Malawi, Burundi and Somalia, said ““The current drought has amplified Somalia’s vulnerability and the urgent need for investments to enable full economic recovery and lay the foundations for future prosperity. This event has identified clear areas of priority investment where the public and private sectors can work together to accelerate economic progress among them: energy; water and financial services. We congratulate both the government and private sector.”

Somalia faces a disastrous drought and is constrained by limited state and institutional capacity. Nevertheless, the Somali private sector has remained vibrant and contributes over 90% of GDP, including through remittance flows of around USD 1.5 billion per annum. The ICT sector makes up a significant portion of private sector activity, providing the continent’s cheapest phone rates, full domestic mobile network coverage, an expanding 4G network, and more mobile money transfers than cash transactions. President Mohamed’s newly-elected administration has expressed a commitment to engaging with Somalia’s vibrant private sector, both locally and in the diaspora, to support the country’s next stage of development.

Cheick Oumar Seydi, Director for Africa, International Finance Corporation, said “Officially recognizing private sector’s resilience and key role in Somalia is a major milestone. IFC will apply its knowledge and extensive global networks to support Somalia’s government and private sector in their efforts towards economic recovery. The World Bank Group is already working to improve government to business services, which will help the private sector formalize and access global markets”.

Participants in the dialogue discussed priorities for Somalia’s recovery, which are identified in the country’s National Development Plan, as well as continuing the public private dialogue (PPD) process with support from the World Bank Group and other partners. During the dialogue, private sector representatives highlighted the business opportunities in Somalia as well as the challenges such as insecurity, weak government capacities, an informal financial sector; need for currency reform, effective fiscal policies and public sector accountability.

“The Government affirms its responsibility to develop and strengthen regulatory frameworks and policies, in consultation with the private sector, to enable private sector led economic recovery that benefits all Somalis. The Private Sector will actively engage with the government to progressively establish a modern business environment based on rule of law and a fair, predictable and competitive taxation system”, said Mohamed Abdullahi Abdi “Martello”, Spokesperson for the Somali Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Background on the World Bank Group:

The World Bank Group, through the Multi Partner Fund, supports a range of state-building initiatives in Somalia, including IFC’s work with the private sector. The Somali Core Economic Institutions and Opportunities Program is developing regulatory and policy framework for Somali financial institution, to catalyze private investment and job creation across Somalia. Efforts are also underway to set up a One-Stop-Shop for business registration and support value chains in fisheries, gums and resins.

The Multi Partner Fund is supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DfID) as well as, Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the European Union (EU), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA), the Swiss Agency for Development Co-operation (SDC), the Royal Norwegian Embassy, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the World Bank’s State- and Peacebuilding Fund (SPF).

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

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Briefing Room

Diplomatic leaks: UAE dissatisfied with Saudi policies

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AL JAZEERA — Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) is working on breaking up Saudi Arabia, leaked documents obtained by Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar revealed.

Al Akhbar said that the leaked documents contained secret diplomatic briefings sent by UAE and Jordanian ambassadors in Beirut to their respective governments.

One of the documents, issued on September 20, 2017, disclosed the outcome of a meeting between Jordan’s ambassador to Lebanon Nabil Masarwa and his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdel-Al al-Qenaie.

“The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed is working on breaking up the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the Jordanian envoy quoted the Kuwait ambassador as saying.

A second document, issued on September 28, 2017, reveals meeting minutes between the Jordanian ambassador and his UAE counterpart Hamad bin Saeed al-Shamsi.

The document said the Jordanian ambassador informed his government that UAE believes that “Saudi policies are failing both domestically and abroad, especially in Lebanon”.

“The UAE is dissatisfied with Saudi policies,” the Jordanian envoy said.

The Qatar vote
According to the leaks, UAE ambassador claims that Lebanon voted for Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari in his bid to become head of UNESCO in October 2017.

“[Lebanese Prime Minister Saad] Hariri knew Lebanon was voting for Qatar,” the UAE ambassador said in a cable sent to his government on October 18, 2017.

In November last year, Hariri announced his shock resignation from the Saudi capital Riyadh.

He later deferred his decision, blaming Iran and its Lebanese ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah, for his initial resignation. He also said he feared an assassination attempt.

Officials in Lebanon alleged that Hariri was held hostage by Saudi authorities, an allegation Hariri denied in his first public statement following his resignation speech.

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Briefing Room

Somalia’s Puntland region asks UAE to stay as Gulf split deepens

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BOSASO, Somalia (Reuters) – Somalia’s semi-autonomous Puntland region urged the United Arab Emirates not to close its security operations in the country after a dispute with the central government, saying the Gulf power was a key ally in the fight against Islamist militants.

The dispute goes to the heart of an increasingly troubled relationship between Gulf states – divided by their own disputes – and fractured Somalia, whose coastline sits close to key shipping routes and across the water from Yemen.

Analysts have said the complex standoff risks exacerbating an already explosive security situation on both sides of the Gulf of Aden, where militant groups launch regular attacks.

The central Somali government said on Wednesday it was taking over a military training program run by the UAE.

Days later the UAE announced it was pulling out, accusing Mogadishu of seizing millions of dollars from a plane, money it said was meant to pay soldiers.

“We ask our UAE friends, not only to stay, but to redouble their efforts in helping Somalia stand on its feet,” said the office of the president of Puntland, a territory that sits on the tip of the Horn of Africa looking out over the Gulf of Aden.

Ending UAE support, “will only help our enemy, particularly Al Shabaab and ISIS (Islamic State),” it added late on Monday.

SUSPICION, RESENTMENT

The UAE is one of a number of Gulf powers that have opened bases along the coast of the Horn of Africa and promised investment and donations as they compete for influence in the insecure but strategically important region.

That competition has been exacerbated by a diplomatic rift between Qatar and a bloc including the UAE. In turn, those splits have worsened divisions in Somalia.

Puntland, which has said it wants independence, has sought to woo the UAE which runs an anti-piracy training center there and is developing the main port. The central government in Mogadishu last year criticized Puntland for taking sides in the Gulf dispute. Qatar’s ally Turkey is one of Somalia’s biggest investors.

One Somali government official said last week Mogadishu had decided to take over the UAE operation because the Gulf state’s contract to run it had expired. Another official said the government was investigating the money taken from the plane.

The competition among Gulf states in Somalia has fueled accusations of foreign interference and resentment in many corners of Somali society.

The loss of the UAE program could have a destabilizing effect, said one security analyst, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The value of the UAE trained forces was two-fold – they were relatively well trained but, most importantly, they were paid on time,” unlike other parts of the security forces, the analyst told Reuters.

Somalia has been mired in conflict since 1991.

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Puntland President calls UAE continue its mission in Somalia

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