New billions pledged for Somalia in distress

| September 20, 2013

(GIN)—European donors opened their wallets again to pledge some $2.4 billion for the reconstruction of Somalia. The money throws the Horn of Africa nation another lifeline as it attempts to end more than two decades of conflict.

The money has been called a “New Deal” for what is widely regarded as a failed state.

European Union (EU) Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the extra money would support a “new phase in the life of Somalia”.

The EU contribution would be in addition to the $1.6bn it gave Somalia from 2008 to 2013.

Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab insurgent group dismissed the donor pledges as a “Belgian waffle”—sweet on the outside but really not much substance to it.” Writing on their Twitter page, they predicted that donor pledges would remain mostly unfulfilled or the money would be lost to corruption.

By coincidence, Uganda last week suspended 20 army officers accused of selling food and fuel meant for Somali-based troops, a Ugandan army spokesman told the BBC. The Ugandan contingent head, Brigadier Michael Ondoga, is among those being investigated.

Uganda is the biggest contributor to the African Union force with more than 6,000 troops in the 18,000 AU force.

While the force has helped the UN-backed Somali government regain control of key cities and towns from al-Shabab, most of southern Somalia remains under al-Shabab’s control.

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Category: Africa Briefs

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