Remarks by Administrator Shah at a Press Conference with the President of Somalia

Thursday, February 21, 2013

[As Prepared]

Mr. President, thank you for your kind words and for your warm welcome to Somalia. Today I can think of no greater privilege than to stand here with you and Special Representative Swan, on Somalia’s soil, to reaffirm the U.S. Government’s commitment to Somalia’s long-term development.

Since 2007, the United States has supported Somalia and its neighbors, first Uganda and Burundi, then Kenya and Djibouti, as Somali and AMISOM forces' efforts to drive al-Shabaab out of Somalia’s cities and towns.

Throughout this time, the Somali people endured the unendurable—violence, fear, hunger, disease. But they also came together to build something—a new foundation that would anchor a stable future for Somalia.

For years, USAID has been proud to stand by the reformers, the Somalis who fought for peace and a better life for their children. We have worked not only to meet the urgent needs of Somalis facing crisis, but also to support long-term Somali community efforts to rebuild Somali neighborhoods, rebuild Somali livelihoods, and rebuild Somali confidence in their government.

Today we are investing in your young people, your farmers and pastoralists, your men, women, and children, to improve health, education, and opportunity. We want to support Somalis as they become more resilient to all crises, whether they are caused  by men—manmade or environmental.  We are pleased to announce we are providing another $20-million contribution that will support that goal, as well as address critical emergency food needs.

Now we are coming together to talk about the next chapter of our partnership—a "New Deal" through which the United States and its international partners will support the Somali Government’s vision and roadmap for the future. We respect Somali Government leadership on development priorities and will align our programs behind Somali goals.

Because the foundation of solid governance is accountability and transparency, we look forward to supporting the Government of Somalia’s efforts to fight corruption, build democratic institutions, and respond to the needs of its people. The United States also assists the Government of Somalia’s legislative and executive functions, including rebuilding the capacity of local institutions that provide basic services, enhancing the rule of law, and supporting improved service delivery  for the regional and local administrations across Somalia.  

The United States will continue to support Somalia's stabilization across a variety of sectors in this post-transition phase. In particular, we look forward to assisting with the establishment of transparent and accountable governing institutions that respect the rule of law and human rights.

There has been encouraging news about recent improvements in food security due to international humanitarian aid combined with good rains and increased food and livestock production; however, the international community must continue to help food insecure populations meet their basic needs and to protect the livelihoods of vulnerable Somalis while supporting long-term solutions to break the cycle of hunger in Somalia and the broader region.

Indeed, Somalia has become a model for a new way for the international community to partner with regional governments, institutions, and host countries to resolve seemingly intractable threats like Al Shabaab that damaged the stability of not just one country, but of a whole region. The narrative of Somalia was mired in conflict, famine, and terrorism, but is now changing to a story of resilience, recovery, and hope.

Mr. President, thank you again for your welcome. It is truly an honor to stand beside you and the Somali people in your efforts. 


Last updated: February 21, 2013

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