5 November – Source: Reuters – 405 Words
Somalia is planning to launch its first ever oil and gas licensing round in December, its oil minister said on Tuesday, as the frontier market looks to attract new investment after decades of civil strife. At least three mortar bombs were fired last month at Mogadishu’s international airport, the latest attack in a wave of violence that has afflicted the Horn of Africa nation since clan warlords overthrew a dictator in 1991. Today much of the fighting is between rival clans and an Islamist insurgency, with Al Qaeda-aligned Al Shabaab, which is seeking to topple the U.N.-backed government, launching attacks in Mogadishu and across the country.
“We will announce the first bid round in December,” Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed told Reuters on the sidelines of an African oil and gas conference in Cape Town. “We are presenting up to 15 blocks.” He said seismic data commissioned for the government was encouraging and indicated that the 15 blocks could contain around 30 billion barrels of oil. Ahmed emphasised the new blocks were far from the maritime boundary with Kenya that is currently the subject of a dispute at the International Court of Justice. He added that international naval blockades had almost totally eradicated offshore piracy at the former hotspot for maritime hijackings. “Somalia was known before for piracy, terrorists, unrest and all that, but the federal government of Somalia is doing its best to stabilise the country,” Ahmed said. “For the past decade or so there has not been one casualty of piracy, so offshore is safe to invest.”
He said new oil and gas investments should create more jobs, help prevent young people turning to crime and spread peace in the country. “Somalia has a roadmap we can follow after we produce oil, so there will be no (resource) curse here in Somalia,” he said, referring to a tendency among some resource-rich countries to suffer from economic stagnation. Ahmed said the president was expected to sign into law new petroleum legislation, currently before parliament’s upper house, before year-end. This would help pave the way for ExxonMobil and Shell to return to the country where they held legacy blocks from the 1990s. Last month the two companies paid $1.7 million owed to Somalia for leasing these offshore blocks, although operations there remain suspended. “Once all the legislation is done we hope they will come back soon,” Ahmed said.
5 November – Source: Hiiraan Online – 197 Words
A senior U.S military commander has called for coordinated efforts from the international community to defeat terrorism in Somalia. U.S. Africa Command commander General Stephen Townsend said during his visit to Mogadishu Tuesday there was a need for concerted efforts in supporting to improve security in Somalia. “Our commitment to helping our Somali partners improve security and develop their defense institutions is a top priority,” said Gen. Townsend. “Security also requires continued efforts and coordinated support from the international community to make it work,” a statement from the US embassy in Mogadishu read in part.
Noting that threats posed by terrorist networks in Africa called for vigilance and cooperation, Gen. Townsend sent warning terror groups. “Terrorists need to know that we will pursue them relentlessly to disrupt and degrade them today and prevent their spread tomorrow,” he said. Gen. Townsend met with President Mohamed Farmaajo and top US and Somalia leadership during his visit to Mogadishu. The U.S last week brought down ISIS leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi in an operation in northern-western Syria. The Somalia wing of ISIS this week expressed allegiance to the new ISIS leader named by the group to succeed Baghdadi.
5 November – Source: AllSBC- 106 Words
On Monday, the Jubaland leader, Ahmed Mohamed Islan chaired the monthly security council meeting of his administration. Attended by his first Deputy, Mohamud Sayid Adan, members of the Council of Ministers, Jubaland and AMISOM military officials, the meeting mainly focused on security and military operations against the militant group Al-Shabaab. The officials underlined the need to ramp up operations against Al-Shabaab aimed at liberating areas under its control, primarily the Middle Juba region, which is entirely under the militants’ control. The meeting also deliberated the expansion of counterintelligence operations office in Kismayo in a bid to enhance information and intelligence sharing to disrupt militant’s planned attacks.
5 November – Source: Hiiraan Online – 227 Words
Five Horn Africa countries are exploring a joint economic cooperation with a required capital of $15 billion to spur economic growth and boost trade and human development in the region. The initiative bringing together Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea was formalized last month on the sidelines of World Bank Group/IMF Annual Meetings in Washington DC. According to a statement from the African Development Bank, the Horn initiative is based on four priority areas notably improving regional infrastructure connectivity, promoting trade and economic integration; and building resilience. The fourth thematic area is strengthening human capital development.
To jumpstart the initiative, these countries will require $15 billion. ADB Vice President Khaled Sherif described the region as strategic and with potential. “The Horn of Africa’s geo-strategic position with regard to the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, has important regional and international significance. “These can be harnessed to spur integration, resilience and usher in a new era of prosperity, enabling the countries to reap significant dividends from the current peace initiatives.” Most of the Horn of Africa countries easily outpaced the continent’s average growth rate in 2018. Africa’s gross domestic product expanded by an estimated 3.5% last year, while Ethiopia reached 7.7%, Djibouti 5.6%, Kenya 5.9% and Eritrea 4.2%. Somalia was the exception at 2.9%.
5 November – Source: UNHRC – 425 Words
UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency, has airlifted vital humanitarian assistance to thousands of Somalis displaced by extraordinary flooding in the South-West and Hiirshabelle states of Somalia over the last two weeks. UNHCR is one of the first responders to lead delivery of humanitarian assistance to Belet Weyne in Hirshabelle state where the impact of the floods has been highest, with a displacement of 230,000 men, women and children. The first of ten cargo freighters landed yesterday, bringing in an initial six metric tons of what will amount to 3,500 urgently needed emergency kits that include jerry cans, soap, blankets, kitchen sets and plastic sheets. “When a country like Somalia, which has shown progress but remains fragile, experiences a natural disaster, there’s no time to wait,” said Johann Siffointe, UNHCR’s Representative in Somalia. “Immediate emergency response is crucial. The situation we are seeing today is dire. At the same time millions of Somalis are counting on the international community to remember the vast humanitarian and development needs in the country that will still continue to need support once the cameras are gone.”
Up to three cargo rotations are planned to fly out daily for the remainder of the week in Belet Weyne, with UNHCR’s partner on the ground, African Volunteers for Relief and Development (AVORD), supporting the distribution of emergency kits to more than 20,000 individuals in need. An additional 2,500 emergency shelter kits will also be delivered this week in the airlifting operation in Hirshabelle state and the humanitarian response will also continue in other affected parts of South-West state. This latest flooding, which follows extreme drought in the country this year, once again reveals the country’s vulnerability to the effects of climate change. According to the UNHCR-led Protection and Return Monitoring Network, when the River Shabelle broke its banks, as of 31 October 2019 severe flooding displaced more than 270,000 Somalis from their homes…..
3 November – Source: EU-CAP – 592 Words
First came a distress call from the Captain of “MV Moll”- his vessel had been hijacked and a rape had taken place. That call triggered the training scenario set up during the MACRILEX exercise, co-organised by EUCAP Somalia, EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta and UNODC. MACRILEX (Maritime Criminal Justice Chain Exercise) was conducted over six days between 25 September and 17 October in Mogadishu. There were 24 participants altogether, including three women, from the Somali Police Force (CID, Interpol NCB and the Maritime Police Unit), the Banadir Regional Court, the Ministry of Justice, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and the Bar Association.
Scenario-based training was used to identify weaknesses and strengths in the Somali criminal justice chain, to increase interaction and mutual learning between professional groups involved in the criminal justice chain. The participants familiarized themselves with all the phases of the criminal justice chain, starting with the distress call from “MV Moll”, the allegedly hijacked vessel and analysed the intelligence from various sources like EU CRIMARIO IORIS system, an Interpol Blue Notice, police reports and radio communication. After the decision to board the vessel was made, the attendees had a chance to get out of the classroom and board the EUNAVFOR vessel ITS Marceglia, which played the part of “MV Moll”. The boarding team from the Mogadishu Maritime Police Unit and CID of the Somali Police Force administered first aid to a casualty, managed the crime scene, seized evidence, conducted initial interviews and made arrests. Next day, participants learnt about Crime Scene Management and Forensic Evidence, they then interviewed “Araale” and “Bulle” the alleged suspects who were arrested on board “MV Moll” as well as the “witnesses” and “victims.” The suspects were charged with various offences, including rape and taken to court which was also a part of the exercise…..
3 November – Source: UNSOM – 632 Words
Honourable Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First, I extend thanks to our Qatari hosts from their warm hospitality and excellent arrangements for this meeting. I also want to express our solidarity with the Somali victims of the tragic flooding in Belet Weyne. The United Nations family — including the Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs and the World Food Program, among others —has responded swiftly to provide assistance, thanks to generous support from donor partners. On behalf of the United Nations, thank you for the opportunity to address this meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Contact Group on Somalia. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation is a key partner of Somalia, as it continues to make progress toward becoming a peaceful and secure state. The decision by the OIC to establish a full mission in Mogadishu is a welcome reinforcement of its support to Somalia. I congratulate Ambassador Mohamed Bamba M. Boba for his appointment to head this mission.
The Somali Government has renewed its commitment to an ambitious state-building and peace-building agenda, as endorsed at the Somalia Partnership Forum it hosted last month in Mogadishu, with active participation by the OIC. Somalis have charted a course for political reforms, security and stabilization, and economic recovery and development. Their commitment is matched by that of international partners to provide coherent support. Impressive progress on public financial management reforms means that Somalia is now very close to achieving decision point on debt relief. Debt relief will benefit Somalis across the country by enabling access to greater resources from International Financial Institutions, laying the foundation for more inclusive growth. We also commend the Government’s adoption of the new National Development Plan, which will guide both national and partner efforts in the coming years. The Federal Government has committed to finalize the Electoral Bill by the end of this year and to hold universal suffrage parliamentary elections in the last quarter of 2020. The National Independent Electoral Commission is making plans for voter registration. An Electoral Security Task Force has been established. However, there is as yet no broad political agreement among Somali leaders on the electoral model. It is imperative that consensus is reached quickly, so that resources can be mobilized and technical preparations advance on time.
OPINION, ANALYSIS AND CULTURE
4 November – Source: Brookings – 402 Words
Fragile and conflict-affected states in Africa currently account for about one-third of those living in extreme poverty worldwide. These states struggle with tradeoffs between development and stabilization, the need for economic stimulus and debt sustainability, and global financial stewardship and transparency. Addressing fragility requires innovative approaches, the strengthening of public and private sector capacity, and strong will from the government and international partners. On this last issue, Somalia, known for its decades in extreme fragility, has taken a lead: Its government has shown great determination and political will as it works towards stabilization, recovery, and reconstruction after a long civil war beginning after the collapse of Siad Barre’s government in 1991. Financial issues, including national debt and domestic resource mobilization, remain major obstacles for Somalia’s path to reconstruction. The International Monetary Fund has welcomed Somalia’s intention to begin making payments on arrears in 2020, which may pave the way for eventual debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. Somalia has also begun collecting taxes and paying government salaries in full for the first time in decades. This progress is an encouraging sign of Somalia’s commitment to its roadmap forward.
On Thursday, October 17, the Africa Growth Initiative (AGI) and the Doha Center at the Brookings Institution hosted Somali Finance Minister Abdirahman Duale Beileh to share his thoughts on economic adjustment in Somalia. The event began with introductory remarks by AGI Director Brahima Coulibaly. Following his remarks, Dr. Beileh joined Brookings Global Economy and Development Senior Fellow Raj Desai on stage to discuss Somalia’s recent economic and social progress, development assistance and domestic resource mobilization, and issues of fiscal federalism and territorial integrity in Somalia. Dr. Beileh began his remarks by describing the remarkable progress moving out of fragility and conflict that Somalia has made in recent years. He emphasized several positive developments, including the collection of taxes, interaction with the international community on issues such as debt relief, the return of the diaspora, and improvements in trust between Somalian citizens and the government – (Video clip) While addressing Somalia’s challenges and progress in moving to a system of fiscal federalism, Dr. Beileh also discussed the complexity around the territorial integrity of the country and the benefits of dialogue and discussion among Somalia’s states – (Video Clip) Finally, Dr. Beileh discussed the need to address the “supply side” of conflict—unemployment and desperation of young people that drives them to terrorism – (Video Clip).