The Dutch contribution to Somalia

After the collapse of Mohamed Siad Barre’s regime in 1991 Somalia continued to be an instable country dealing with humanitarian disasters and conflicts. In 2002 the authorities started with a process to regain peace in the country. Since 2007 the African Union started a peacebuilding operation called AMISOM in Somalia. The year after, in 2008, a next step was made and the transition government was established during the Djibouti peace process. In 2012 elections took place and a new parliament and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud got in charge. He was succeeded by Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known under his nickname: “Farmaajo’. He is since February 2017 the current President.

Despite these progresses Somalia today is facing enormous challenges. First of all, the country has been in conflict for decades. Time and time again tribal conflict occurs throughout the country. Another continuous present threat is Al-Shabaab, a terrorist organization attempting to get in charge of the country, spreading fear and causing many casualties with their attacks. Secondly, the humanitarian needs remain large. The cyclical character of drought, leading to starvation and famine is worrying. Due to both humanitarian needs and conflict many Somalian people got displaced or flee to neighboring countries or Europe.

The Embassy

The point of view of the Netherlands is that the solution to the conflict in Somalia is in the hands of the Somalian authorities. The role of the international community is in facilitating and supporting the reconstruction of the country. The Netherlands is a large contributor by using multilateral channels (as the European Union and the United Nations)

The Netherlands is supporting some projects in Somalia, like supporting several parliaments in Somalia, projects from different NGO’s working on good governance, the Somalia Stability Fund, a contribution to maritime security with the EU missions in Somalia and the UNODC; support of economic development and creation of youth employment via the Somaliland Development Fund. Next to this, we support the Addressing Root Causes of Conflict and Migration (ARC) fund.

Somalian – Dutch relationship

The Netherlands is not present on the ground in Somalia with an Embassy. We work through the embassy of the Netherlands in Nairobi (Kenya) with contain a Somalia department. The Somalian government has not embassy in the Netherlands but is present in Brussel (Belgium) to look after the interests of the Somalian population in the Netherlands, which consists of around 36,000 people.

The focus of the Netherlands policy towards Somalia is strengthening the Rule of Law and Security sectors in Somalia. Creating a judicial system, together with an well-functioning political system and a function security sector is of great value to the wellbeing a the population. The Netherlands is active in the Rule of Law workgroup, within Human Rights working groups. Also humanitarian support is given to the Somalia Humanitarian Fund, the Dutch Relief Alliance and through the membership of Humanitarian donor groups.

Military support to Somalia is substantial, the Netherlands is a main contributor to the anti-piracy mission of the EU, EUNAVFOR Atalanta. Another contribution is given to the maritime capacity-building mission EUCAP Nestor. The Netherlands is also a large financial contributor to the training of Ugandan soldiers for the AMISOM peacebuilding mission.

There are little economic relationships between the Netherlands and Somalia, especially due to the unsafe environment in Somalia. It is reduced to the remittances of Dutch-Somalian citizens to their families in Somalia. The number of Dutch Somalian people in Somalia is increasing and many of them started their own business in Somalia. This is especially the case in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland.