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Published On: Fri, Nov 7th, 2014

Somaliland:7th High Level Aid Coordination Forum Opening Commentary Donor Statement

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OPENING DONOR STATEMENT

1. As your development partners we welcome this event which is well-timed one year into delivery against the New Deal Compact and Somaliland Special Arrangement commitments. The draft annual report of the Somaliland Special Arrangement which we have received will be presented at the High Level Partnership Forum in Copenhagen later this month.

 

2. As the New Deal architecture matures we must ensure the development of shared values to guide our mutual accountability working with the “partnership principles” in the New Deal Compact. These shared values mean more aid being reflected on plan, on budget and more predictable based on government partners putting proper systems in place to manage public finances (including aid). A commitment to using aid and other resources in the interests of the poor people of Somaliland, where 63 per cent of men and 80 per cent of women between 25 and 34 years of age are unemployed. Transparent and accountable governance, the protection of human rights, further democratisation, and “do no harm” are key. But, we

 

 

must also be careful not to overcomplicate our mutual accountability and there are plenty of lessons to be learned from elsewhere.

 

3. The Somaliland Special Arrangement is a way of holding both parties to account for their commitments. The formal reporting systems are new and the traffic lights system, whilst useful, perhaps paints an overly negative picture of progress in Somaliland. This reporting needs to reflect the consultative processes in all of the target areas in the Special Arrangement. This High Level Aid Coordination Forum is the opportunity to focus on how we can collectively improve the chances for success.

 

4. We are pleased that the Somaliland Development Fund and the Multi Partner Funds are operational and starting to fund pipeline projects such as replacing the main water pipe in Hargeisa, rehabilitating the road between Larafuk – Berbera – Sheikh and implementing the Somaliland Government’s public financial management system. We need to consolidate the governance architecture and bring multi donor trust funds together around the Somaliland Special Arrangement.

 

5. Building on the last High Level Aid Coordination Forum the World Bank continues to produce illuminating diagnostics to help shape our

 

 

development discourse, the economic growth driver session tomorrow represents another opportunity for that. The EU and IGAD are similarly engaged in the eagerly awaited diagnostic of the Berbera corridor which takes us from the border of Ethiopia to the deep sea port of Berbera facing one of the biggest shipping lanes in the world.

 

6. Somaliland’s energy sector has been touted as a part of the economy that is most ripe for development. A number of foreign companies are exploring for oil and gas in Somaliland, and as with all opportunities in the natural resource sector the allocation of concessions and contracts are critical, as are regulation and transparency on any deals, and due consideration of potential environmental impacts.

 

7. The successful trade event held in the UK a couple of weeks ago showcased Somaliland as a destination ripe for investment in a range of sectors from agriculture through to fisheries. It is clear that trade rather than aid will lead to increased growth for Somaliland and jobs for men, women and youth. The Somaliland Government and its partners now need to move forward to develop the right enabling environment through, for example, one-stop shops for investors and improved access to finance with passage of the Commercial Banking Act.

 

 

8. Joint Parliamentary and Presidential Elections in Somaliland are scheduled for mid-2015. This represents another opportunity for Somaliland to build on its democratic achievements. A number of donors have been working with the National Election Commission to design a new voter register. That process is in place and the bids from private contractors have been received and are waiting to be reviewed. These bids cannot, however, be reviewed until parliamentary endorsement of the new election commission and an amendment to the voter registration law. Once the new election commission is endorsed we will be one of the first to welcome the first female commissioner. Women’s political participation and a free media are the beacon of a free and fair electoral process.

 

9. As we said in June some Human Development Indicators are starting to head in the right direction. As the budget is being finalized we encourage the Government of Somaliland to increase the share of its budget for health and education which needs to be complemented by strengthening Ministerial capacity and a commitment to merit based recruitment into the civil service.

 

10. We support your Government’s focus on increasing revenue and increasing the size of the Somaliland budget. Support will start in the

 

 

next month focusing on tax policy and a gradual shift from customs based revenue to more from inland-revenue sources. This will mean a cultural shift for many, but by paying taxes the men and women of Somaliland will demand better government services.

 

11. A medium term land policy is needed to ensure that potential conflict in the future is reduced. The Somaliland Development Fund has been requested by the National Planning Commission to undertake a study into land governance in Somaliland. The purpose is to provide up to date information on land governance laws (xeer and traditional), the system and processes governing property rights, men and women’s perceptions on the equity and appropriateness of the system, and what an improved system would look like. A medium term land policy can facilitate peaceful settlement of land disputes, both within Somaliland and with regional neighbors.

 

12. As we look to 2015 and in the spirit of mutual accountability let us set out some key milestones for the year ahead, 2015.

 

a) The tiers of the New Deal aid architecture needs to be consolidated. A clear Government led process to refresh the

 

 

technical working groups and in some cases establish new peace and state building goal working groups.

b) Clarity on how the Somaliland Development Fund governance structure can work with new multi donor trust funds to ensure technical coordination and prioritization.

c) And re-visiting the objective and function of the role of the top of the aid architecture, this high level aid coordination forum.

d) Finalise and submit legislation to Parliament on commercial banking, a fit for purpose public financial management system, a new roads commission, an amendment to the voter registration law, and a new electoral law including a new quota for women only Parliamentary seats.

e) Build on the Somaliland Special Arrangement reporting we are reviewing over the next two days and establish a simple and clear monitoring framework with mutual accountability at its core.

 

13. My sincere thanks to the Government of Somaliland for all of the organisation, and may I wish all participants a productive and successful two days at this forum.

Somaliland HLACF Opening Commentary_Donor Statement FINAL

About the Author

- Mohamed Ibrahim Guled is the CEO, owner and chief editor of SomalilandPress

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