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EU development support in Somalia

16 September 2013
by eub2 -- last modified 16 September 2013

On 16 September 2013, the EU and Somalia jointly held a high-level event entitled "A new deal for Somalia" in Brussels. The aim was to sustain the positive momentum in the country, to ensure it stays on the path to stability and peace, bringing prosperity to its people. The international community and Somalia endorses the so-called Compact - a key milestone of the process - pledge support to enable its implementation and, above all, re-commit to this new political process.


Somalia's eight-year transition ended in September 2012 with the peaceful handover to a new Federal Government.

Now, the conference's aim was to sustain the positive momentum in the country and to ensure that it stays on the path to stability and peace, bringing prosperity to its people.

The Brussels Conference brought together the international community and Somalia to endorse the so-called Compact – a key milestone of the process-, pledge support to enable its implementation and, above all, re-commit to this new political process.

The Compact is based on the New Deal principles agreed at the High-Level Forum for Aid Effectiveness in Busan in 2011. It will change the way the international community is working with Somalia and consists of: 1) sectorial top priorities following five peace and state building goals, 2) partnership principles and 3) implementation and monitoring arrangements.

The Compact includes mutually agreed proposals for the establishment of a new financial and coordination architecture for Somalia (the Somalia Development and Reconstruction Facility), underpinned by a mutual accountability partnership.

EU cooperation with Somalia

The European Union (EU) is engaged in Somalia through a comprehensive approach involving active diplomacy and direct support to development assistance, political process, security issues and humanitarian aid.

The European Commission provides development aid in Somalia under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF). The total allocation for Somalia for the current financing period (2008-2013) amounts to €521 million.

The co-operation of the European Commission with Somalia focuses on three main areas of intervention: Governance, Economic Development and Education.

Apart from the bilateral support through the EDF, Somalia benefits also from various thematic programmes, such as food security, civil society and human rights.

Governance – State building

The EU supports Somalia to build democratic structures and institutions. The present EU investment in governance is €123 million and encompasses the following areas:

  • Rule of Law and security: key results include - more than 6,300 police officers and 170 law officials, judges, prosecutors, judiciary members and court staff were trained, law faculties were established in Somaliland and Puntland; Stipends (salaries and expenses) for the Somali Police Force are being paid.
  • Reconciliation: the EU is the biggest donor to the Somalia Constitution process and continues to assist to the review, dissemination and implementation of the new constitution including future endorsement by referendum and the conduct of national election.
  • Effective governance: Somaliland had free and fair presidential elections in 2010 and Puntland adopted a new Constitution; and civil service reforms and the evaluation of the public service's performance were initiated in Somaliland and at federal level. Local governance structures are strengthened now thanks to EU support.
  • Somali civil society: civil society groups have been strengthened to play a meaningful role in the peace building process and good governance. Human rights and women's rights, as well as freedom of expression, have been promoted through the support of organisations and free and independent media.

Economic development

The EU spends €135 million in the fields of food security, private sector-led economic development and livelihoods.

In the Food security and agriculture sector, the EU has supported:

  • Resilience to drought: enhancing social protection with punctual injections of small cash to the most needed areas in Somaliland and Puntland;
  • Information on food security and nutrition: more than 3 million Somalis benefited from EU funded market information through the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU);
  • Environmental conservation programmes: in the North and Central region of Somalia where food insecurity is related to rapid natural resource degradation;
  • Seed sector: in the agricultural irrigated areas of the South, a seed sector has been established and has achieved high quality performance generating a profitable market for farmers;
  • Irrigation: about 50,000 agricultural households are benefitting from the EU support to irrigation and flood control infrastructure, and to crop development in the areas of Shabelle and Juba river valleys.


Despite notable improvements in recent years, the number of children attending and finalising school in Somalia is among the lowest in the world. With €85 million the EU has supported the following:

  • More than 40,000 children (17,000 girls) have gained access to basic, primary and secondary education;
  • More than 330 classrooms were recently built or rehabilitated;
  • 4,000 primary and secondary teachers have been qualified - almost 30% of these were women;
  • 5,279 trainees were enrolled in vocational training, ensuring the development of skills and promotion of employment.


Over 70,000 households involved in livestock production, processing and trade, benefited from EU funds. The livestock sector is estimated to create 65% of all job opportunities in Somalia, to generate 80% of foreign earnings (excluding remittances), and to contribute 40% of the total GDP for the country.


EU-financed projects have supported both rural and urban supply systems for the last 20 years to increase access to sustainable water sources through the development of infrastructure and institutional capacity.

One of the key objectives for EU support is to create an enabling environment for private sector participation in financing and managing water supply operations, with notable successes in urban areas throughout Somalia and pioneering work in developing Public-Private Partnerships in larger rural communities.

Ongoing projects aim to provide sustainable access to safe water for up to 500,000 people and access to basic sanitation for 80,000 people.

The EU also supports the development of knowledge management, water resource research and monitoring, and policy support. Notably the EU has supported the development and inclusion of hygiene promotion and awareness into the national primary level curriculum of Somaliland, with the aim of reducing mortality and morbidity in young children from waterborne disease.


A peaceful and stable Somalia is an EU priority that can be achieved by simultaneously addressing the political, development and security challenges of the country in a comprehensive manner.

That is why the EU is significantly supporting the African Union peace enabling Mission to Somalia (AMISOM). Over the period 2007-2013, the EU has disbursed €594 million, being one of the main donors of AMISOM since its inception. The peace enabling mission creates the necessary security conditions for peace and stability and provides protection to key infrastructure to enable the Federal Institutions to carry out their functions. The financial support by the EU covers costs including troop allowances for all AMISOM soldiers, police and civilian components of the mission, as well as operational costs of the mission headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

Under the EU comprehensive approach to Somalia, the EU has also launched three missions: (1) the Military Training Mission (EUTM) to support the Somali security forces, (2) the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) operation "Atalanta" to fight piracy at sea, and (3) the EUCAP NESTOR to develop regional maritime capacity of states in the Horn of Africa.

Examples of EU cooperation in Somalia

Girl-Friendly spaces: Increasing enrolment of girls in secondary schools

Fewer children attend school in Somalia than almost any­where else in the world. Efforts by the EU are underway in Somaliland and Puntland to raise the quality of education and extend access to schools to a greater number of children, particularly girls.

A major deterrent to the participation of girls in education, especially those of secondary school age, has been a lack of basic facilities on site for girls. Across the whole of Somalia, it is estimated that only 31% of students in sec­ondary schools are female. Of principal concern to many girls is that schools do not always afford them a learning environ­ment where their dignity and privacy are respected. As a way of overcoming this barrier to education, the EU directed funds in 2008 to the establishment of five 'Girl-Friendly Spaces' in Somaliland and Puntland.

Girl-Friendly Spaces offer secondary school girls a com­mon room of their own, where they can socialise with their female friends, study and pray in safety and privacy. Adjoin­ing these common rooms are toilets and wash facilities for the girls so that they no longer need to return home early from school to access toilets that have privacy. In one of the schools benefiting from this programme, the number of transfers to the school increased by 16% (61 girls) shortly after the Girl-Friendly Space opened.

Better use of land to reduce hunger and food insecurity

In Somalia, 20 years of war and the absence of institutions have led to uncontrolled degradation of land. Livestock, which is the main pillar of the Somali economy, finds less and less vegetation to feed on and access to food is a major problem for the population: Malnutrition reaches up to 20% in some areas of Puntland in times of crisis.

This project supports farmers who raise livestock (camels, cattle, sheep and goats) and move with the herds through the rangelands. It aims to move 1.5 million people that earn less than a dollar per day above the poverty line. The programme will support leaders and elders to better manage the natural resources on which their communities depend. Among other things, they will be given the funds to rehabilitate and improve areas of pastures, carry out water harvesting and protect water points. Other activities may include the reforestation of grazing lands with trees or the construction of small dams to avoid erosion, as well as the rehabilitation of existing water ponds.

Training will also be given to help communities manage their natural resources and protect the environment. The project will provide work for the communities and empower elders in preventing and managing conflicts, such as those arising from charcoal production, which degrades natural resources and from the severe unemployment of young people.

Source: European Commission