On 30 January, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy met with President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud. Mr. Rompuy reassured Mr. Mohamoud “that the EU will stand by Somalia in its endeavour for a better future.”
Somalia is located on the Horn of Africa and has a population of 9.1 million. The African country is on civil war for sixteen years and right now it faces the key challenges of building peace, strengthening human rights and fostering the democratisation process. However, waves of violence, caused by inter-clan rivalry and terrorism, have devastated Mogadishu, the capital of the country, and the rest of Somalia. On the latest events, yesterday a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the office of country’s Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon in Mogadiscu.
However, according to CIA World Factbook, Somalia’s economy is relatively healthy and it’s largely based on livestock, remittance/money transfer companies, and telecommunications. In addition the country’s main exports are hides, fish, livestock, charcoal, and bananas.
After today’s meeting with Somali President, Mr. Rompuy underlined that in the period of 2008 – 2013, EU will provide approximately €517 million to help national authorities to enhance governance, the rule of law, education and economic activities. Moreover, in the area of security, the EU has established a Training Mission in Somalia (EUTM) which contributes to the development of the national security sector since 2010.
Rompuy and Mohamoud discussed about: (i) the economic recovery of the country; (ii) how to reconcile all clans and social groups; (iii) and what kind of benefits can the government provide to its people: social services, a sense of security and freedoms.
Regarding the governmental benefits Rompuy stressed the importance of establishing a credible government which is able to respect human rights and heal the Somali nation.