USAID Administrator Mark Green's Remarks with Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre

Remarks

For Immediate Release

Monday, June 17, 2019
Office of Press Relations
Telephone: +1.202.712.4320 | Email: press@usaid.gov | Twitter: @USAID

 
June 17, 2019
Mogadishu, Somalia

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Good afternoon, everyone. And first, please, Mr. Prime Minister, thank you so much for hosting us not just here, but your hospitality while we're here in Somalia. Today, is an important milestone in the partnership between the United States and Somalia. Just hours ago, I formally opened a new USAID Mission here in Mogadishu. This is the first USAID Mission in Somalia in nearly 30 years. This inauguration is not only a symbol of the strengthening ties between our two countries, but it is also a symbol of Somalia's progress.

We open this Mission because the people of Somalia and the leadership of Somalia have shown a commitment to pursuing a more citizen-centered, more resilient, and more self-reliant future. And at USAID, when we find leaders who are willing to take on the tough choices and the reforms that are necessary to pursue self-reliance, then we want to walk with them along the way. And, that is what opening a Mission is all about.

The government of Somalia's reform efforts, based on a sincere commitment to peace, citizen-responsive governance, and the expansion of economic opportunity, have built optimism across this country. There is optimism that a brighter day lies ahead. I am delighted to be part of today's special ceremonies, and I am hopeful that this small step that we have taken will continue to build this positive momentum and preserve hard-won development gains.

Of course, it is the people of Somalia who also deserve credit for the progress that we are seeing. Earlier today, I attended a trade symposium showcasing small businesses here in Somalia that are supported by USAID. It was at that session, that symposium, that I caught a small glimpse of Somalia's vibrant private sector and the future that can be. I met young Somali women engineers who were involved in the energy sector and were working on renewable energy. They were excited about the possibilities, and they were inspirational to me.

I met men and women who were involved in the fishing sector, and they were proud to show me their very big mahi-mahi, and kingfish, and tuna. And, they were talking about the possibilities, if they could only have access to larger markets. Those are steps that we look forward to supporting. Those are businessmen and businesswomen with whom we look forward to working.

Despite a difficult operating environment, these resilient business leaders -- they're still finding ways to succeed. USAID is proud to partner with them to help them build capacity, to expand their businesses, while at the same time, creating more jobs for the people of Somalia. There is much to be optimistic about. The Prime Minister and I also, however, have discussed the many challenges that we know lie ahead, and those challenges are not simply related to security. Somalia's young democracy requires further nurturing. The upcoming elections are a historic opportunity to enshrine the principles of democracy, and to bring true representative government into play, not just for now, but for the generations to come. This includes free and fair elections, and the peaceful transition of power.

There's also the prospect of debt relief, a vital goal to strive for, but one that requires the government to continue with difficult economic reforms and efforts to stamp out corruption. Many Somalis are also facing severe food insecurity, as we know. And this is caused, in part, by ongoing drought and conflict. In response to this alarming food insecurity, today, I am announcing $185 million in humanitarian assistance here, to provide life-saving food, water, and healthcare to Somalis in need. As the world's largest provider of humanitarian aid to Somalia, we are proud to stand with them and their leaders in this time of need. But, we are even more excited about working with the government to build resilience, so that Somalia can one day, better withstand future shocks on its own.

Clearly, Somalia faces a number of obstacles. The road ahead is not an easy one, and there will be more difficult choices that must be made, but the foundation for a brighter Somalia is clearly being built. And today, with the opening of this Mission, after three decades away, we have taken together, I think, another important step forward. Mr. Prime Minister, it is an honor to be here. The United States will continue to stand with you, and to work with you and the Somali people, towards a more stable, democratic, and yes, prosperous future. Thank you.

Last updated: June 24, 2019

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