IFAD resumes support for Somalia after debt clearance

Rome (Caasimada Online) – The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) announced on Tuesday that it is “substantially” increasing its support to address the drought crisis in Somalia after a three-decade-long suspension of direct investments in the country. 

IFAD President Alvaro Lario confirmed that Somalia had cleared its debt with the organization through member-state support, allowing direct investments to resume.

The prolonged drought in the country continues to threaten millions with acute food insecurity. As such, IFAD recognizes the need for long-term solutions through rural development to build resilience. 

Lario emphasized the importance of providing humanitarian assistance to save lives but also to establish a foundation for a brighter future.

Immediate assistance for agriculture development

IFAD is mobilizing resources for a new US$50m agricultural development project, providing services and training to support small-scale farmers and pastoralists. This project includes the provision of seeds, irrigation, veterinary services, micro-finance loans, and training in climate-smart and adaptation techniques.

To support this effort, IFAD immediately makes US$11.6m in funding available. This project will help farmers and pastoralists adapt to climate change, build resilience, and cope with future shocks. 

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, has welcomed IFAD’s renewed commitment. He recognizes that this re-engagement is an opportunity to address many food security priorities in the country. 

The president emphasized that IFAD’s re-engagement marks the beginning of the process of transition from humanitarian to development efforts and that other organizations will follow suit.

Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Sweden have supported Somalia in clearing its arrears, which prevented the country from benefiting from IFAD’s highly concessional loans and grants since the civil war began in 1991. IFAD continued to mobilize donor grants, channeling resources for rural development projects in Somalia. 

This re-engagement with IFAD is a significant step forward for Somalia’s development and ability to withstand economic and climatic shocks.

Strengthening resilience in rural populations

Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary for the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, highlights the importance of building institutions and ownership in times of crisis to leverage further financing for climate-resilient agriculture. 

The Belgian ambassador to IFAD, Pierre-Emanuel De Bauw, emphasizes the urgency of strengthening the resilience of rural populations in the world’s poorest countries.

IFAD’s renewed commitment to supporting Somalia’s agricultural development is critical to the country’s long-term sustainability. Through this effort, small-scale farmers and pastoralists will be equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to adapt to climate change and build resilience.

 As a result, Somalia can withstand economic and climatic shocks and improve its food security in the face of continued challenges.