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Somalia’s al Shabaab militants attack hotel in Mogadishu

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Somalia’s al Shabaab Islamist group launched a suicide bomb attack on a hotel in the center of Mogadishu on Saturday before fighters stormed inside, police and the militant group said.

Police said at least 15 people had died, including guards at the site, civilians and militants. Others were wounded.

Gunfire had echoed round the seaside capital after the blast and ambulances raced to the scene. Police later said fighting had ended but they were searching the site for militants.

“We attacked the hotel which was frequented by the apostate government members,” al Shabaab military operations spokesman Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab told Reuters. He said at least 20 guards and civilians were killed.

Al Shabaab, which frequently carries out attacks in the capital in its bid to topple the Western-backed government, often gives casualty numbers that are higher than figures announced by officials.

Nasahablood (1)

Police said the initial blast was caused by a suicide bomber before fighters stormed into the Nasahablood hotel, leading to a heavy exchange of gunfire. Officers said some people had managed to escape through the rear of the building.

“The operation has now ended but we are still combing the building for any possible militants who are hiding,” Major Ali Mohamed, a police officer, told Reuters.

The United States and other Western countries have been among the biggest donors to the government in Mogadishu as it slowly rebuilds after years of conflict and prepares for parliamentary and presidential elections later this year.

“We strongly condemn this attack,” a U.S. State Department official said in a statement. “We remain committed to Somalia’s security and stability, and are proud to stand side-by-side with Somalia in the fight against terrorism.”

The vote planned for August will be by limited franchise rather than one-person-one-vote, which officials and diplomats say would be too difficult while still fighting an insurgency.

Muslims in Somalia and around the world are observing Ramadan. In previous years, al Shabaab has often intensified attacks during the fasting month, frequently picking targets where people gather just before or after breaking the fast.

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Somalia among highly improved countries in open budget and transparency- According to Open Budget Survey.

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The recently concluded conference on Integrated National Financing Frameworks (INFF) and Open Budgets for Sustainable Development in Africa praised Somalia’s progress in financial transparency and the open budget process. In late September, a survey on Open Budget was unveiled at the meeting in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

Mr Yussuf Mohamed Adan, Somalia’s State Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, at the Conference.

Somalia joined the Open Budget Survey (OBS) initiative in 2016 and has completed three rounds of (OBS), which are conducted every two years. Somalia’s transparency score in the 2021 round was 20 out of 100, a significant improvement over its previous performance. It was ranked next to Tanzania.

“We are pleased to have been reviewed through this open process.” Our commitment to transparency and public participation in budget and financial processes is clear. “We are determined to provide value and accountability to our people,” said Yussuf Mohamed Adan, Somalia’s State Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, who attended the conference.

“We are excited to use these tools to improve our transparency, oversight, and accountability levels, as well as to help our external partners see value for their investments,” Mr Adan added Somalia is undergoing debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. Through the proposed industry of an integrated national financing framework (INFF) and an independent peer review open budget process, experts believe the country can eventually rely on its resources rather than Oversee Development Assistance (ODA).

Dr Mohamed Osman, CEO of Sadar Institute, local host for the Open Budget Initiative in Somalia, and Country Representative for the United Nations University of Peace in Somalia, spoke during the conference.

“The Integrated Financing Framework (INFF) and Open Budget Initiative are unique in that they focus on introducing new financial instruments aimed at financing sustainable development goals in conjunction with national goals and priorities,” said Dr Mohamed Osman, CEO of Sadar Institute, a local host for the Open Budget Initiative in Somalia, and Country Representative for the United Nations University of Peace in Somalia.

“The goal is for developing countries to move beyond reliance on traditional ODA and finance their own Sustainable Development goals in the future,” Dr Mohamed added.

During his opening speech, Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari emphasized the importance of integrating national budget systems to reduce reliance on foreign aid.

President Mohammadu Buhari during the opening session of the conference held in Abuja 27th-30th September 2022

While participating virtually, representatives from the Ministry of Finance developed a NIFF short-term action plan focusing on financing reform, establishing a new focus for an open budget, and advancing public financial management reform with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Sadar Institute.

“Somalia will benefit greatly from the results of this survey. It will improve our budgeting process and instill trust in our employees and external partners “Said Mohamed Tahlil Ahmed, the Ministry of Finance’s Head of Budget and Reporting.

“It will open up more oppor Financingt unities for us as we try to overcome the challenges brought on by decades of civil war,” Mr Tahlil added.

Mr Mohamed Tahlil Ahmed, the Ministry of Finance’s Head of Budget Reporting and Monitoring.

 

Representatives from 54 African countries, UN Agencies, Civil Society Organizations, and other development partners attended the four-day Abuja conference.

As the Covid-19 pandemic dealt shocks to both the sustainable development outlook and the means of financing recovery and medium- to long-term progress in 2020 and 2021, interest in integrated national fina ncing grew.

Some of the delegates during the INFF Conference held in Abuja, Nigeria

The African continent has led the way in terms of the number of countries willing to participate in the Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) initiative. More than 40 countries use the approach in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

The term “integrated national financing frameworks,” or INFFs for short, was introduced in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda for the very first time. Countries requested INFFs to obtain assistance in implementing their national strategies for sustainable development. During the 2019 United Nations General Assembly, sixteen countries reaffirmed their commitment to being this approach’s pioneers.

INFFs serve as a bridge between the policies that mobilize and regulate public and private funding. They assist governments in aligning and enhancing the contribution of financial policies to national development plans. They facilitate greater collaboration between public and private actors and strengthen the connections between various financing policy areas.

In conclusion, the State Minister of Labor and Social Affairs lauded the efforts of the event’s organizers and Nigeria, the host nation. The State Minister reaffirmed that Somalia would adopt the INFF strategy, as the Ministry of Finance already had plans to promote this initiative. The State Minister emphasized that his ministry will work with the Ministry of Finance to address the public participation score, which requires significant public participation. “We will work with our Ministry of Finance to include public participation in the budget preparation guidelines and throughout the budget process,” stated Yusuf Mohamed, St for State Minister labour and social affairs.

As the conference came to a successful conclusion, countries pledged to advance transparency in the budgeting process and to consider adopting a NIFF. The Somalia delegation, led by State Minister Yusuf Mohamed Adan, participated in a series of side meetings with other countries in the region, including Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, and South Sudan, to discuss enhancing budget transparency and ensuring public participation.

 

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President Mohamud Asks Int´l Partners To Help Somalia Avert Looming Famine & Defeat Scourge Of Al-Shabaab.

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President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud delivered his inaugural speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Thursday, September 22.

In his speech, the head of state said despite efforts to move past decades of drought and conflict, Somalia is facing some of the most complex crises in the world, urging international partners to help the nation avert a looming famine and defeat the scourge of terrorism.

“In Somalia, we are working tirelessly to transition from over two decades of devastating conflict, drought, famine and developmental stagnation to a new age of stability, progress and prosperity. However, despite our continuing efforts, Somalia and its resilient people are facing some of the most complex and interconnected crises in the world,” President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told the annual General Debate.

The crises, he added, included ongoing regional drought, which directly threaten the lives and livelihoods of Somali’s most vulnerable communities.

In a new report issued just yesterday, the UN warned that hundreds of thousands in Somalia are already facing starvation with staggering levels of malnutrition expected among children under five. This is the third time in 10 years that Somalia has been threatened with a devastating famine.

The President called on Somalia’s partners to do everything possible to help avert a looming famine, which also threatens the wider Horn of Africa region.

“We urge all our partners to heed our call and work with us to provide immediate support and relief to the most affected communities.

“In the long term, we must collectively work together to ensure that we mitigate the acceleration of the dangerous and costly climate crisis by meeting the commitment to invest in and adequately finance climate adaptation in the most affected and vulnerable regions of the world, including sub-Saharan Africa,” he added.

He cited key areas of investment, including sustainable water management, biodiversity protection, enhanced food security, climate-smart agriculture, resilient infrastructure and investment in renewable energy.;

Somalia has for the first time established a new ministry of environment and climate change to lead the process of urgently addressing the devastating impact of environmental degradation.

“We know that climate change is real, and we are living with the evidence of its painful and destructive reality today. We also know that Somalia, and the rest of the world, cannot develop sustainably without the global climate crisis being jointly addressed quickly and effectively.”

Towards eliminating terrorism

President Mohamud cited that Somali people organically raised up to support their government in the fight against Al-Shabaab.

At the same time, Somalia is tackling the “persistent and complex challenge” of terrorism, which he said both contributes to and exacerbates all other crises, including food insecurity, the displacement of people from their homes and climate change.

He noted that in addition to the efforts carried out by the Somali Federal Government, the Somali people have begun to rise up to defeat the evils of terror, helping to retake villages and towns in recent months.

“We are now confident that with enhanced public support our Government will eliminate terrorism from Somalia.”

He added that the Somali Government will continue to work with all its partners, including the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, in the fight against global terrorism.

“We are fully committed to doing the heavy lifting to secure our future.”

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Somali Government signs UPEACE Charter, opening new opportunities for Somalis

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The UN University for peace marked another historical achievement following the signing of the instrument of accession by Somali President Dr Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The move means that the Somali Government has officially endorsed the UPEACE Charter and is expected to implement it.

Reacting to the news, the University’s country representative Dr Mohamed Osman said the decision by the president is a welcome news.

“This is highly welcome news, and it puts the university’s Somalia branch at the same level with the rest of the countries that have signed the charter,” said Dr Mohamed

“The students will also benefit from various scholarships offered by the institution”, added Dr Mohamed.

From Right: Upeace Somalia Country representative Dr Mohamed Osman, Somalia’s President H.E  Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, UPEACE Regional Director Programme, Professor Samuel Kale Ewusi,  , and Chief of Staff Office of The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia Dr. Hussein Sheikh

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (centre), having a light moment with Dr Juan Carlos, Global Dean of Upeace. With him is Chief of Staff Office of The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia Dr. Hussein Sheikh Mohamud

Somalia’s President Dr Hassan Sheikh Mohamed signed the instrument of accession while attending the 77th UN General Assembly, making Somalia the 42nd country to sign the charter, which was born out of UN General Assembly Resolution 35/55 of 5th December 1980 which established the University for Peace with Headquarters in Costa Rica and Regional Programmes in Africa (Ethiopia), Europe (Netherlands) Asia (China), South East Asia (Philippines), and in South America (Honduras).

A map showing Upeace Regional Offices

A few years ago, the University was welcomed in Somalia after it started offering its courses. Before that, Somali students used to travel to Costa Rica and to the neighbouring country, Ethiopia, where the University has its Africa Regional campus for the continent.

“The signing of the UPEACE Charter by the president is yet another huge step for the university and we hope it opens doors for expansion in Somalia and for many students to enroll into the courses offered by the university” said Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, UPEACE Somalia Country Director.

Dr Juan Carlos, Global Dean of Upeace (center) posing a picture with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Ambassador Narinder Kakar, Permanent Observer of the University for Peace to the United Nations at the 77th UN General Assembly.

The establishment of the university in Costa Rica, a country in Central America, played a pivotal role in establishing the first base for the University. In Africa, the University established its Africa Regional Programme in  2002 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which opened doors to thousands of African students keen on pursuing courses related to peace, security and development.

Many of the graduates are now using the knowledge gained to build peace and help support their communities. In August 2018, Upeace established its first campus in Mogadishu, Somalia University’s first batch of students for Master’s and PhD Programs.

UPEACE will be organizing its next graduation ceremony in Somalia at the end of October 2022 with more than a hundred Masters and at least 10 doctoral students expected to receive their Degrees.

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