By Gabriel-Eddie Njoroge

The Italian Government has signed an agreement for an additional €1 million contribution to the Multi-Partner Somalia Infrastructure Fund.

The fund was established by the bank in October 2016 under the Somalia Development and Reconstruction Facility of the New Deal Compact for Somalia. Its purpose is to support and accelerate Somalia’s inclusive and sustainable economic recovery, peace and state building, through rehabilitation and development of the country’s infrastructure.

This will be Italy’s third injection of funds, bringing its total contribution to date to €3.5 million. The latest contribution will be used to co-finance the Somalia Regional Corridors Infrastructure Programme (SRCIP), with the support of the European Union (EU), the bank, and other partners.

The signing of the agreement on 14 March 2019 was witnessed by senior bank staff from the Eastern Africa Regional office, and representatives of the governments of Italy and Somalia in Mogadishu.

Representing the Somali authorities at the event were Abdi Adam Hoosow, Somalia’s Federal Minister for Public Works, Reconstruction and Housing, Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed, Minister, Southwest Ministry of Public Works and Ismail Ahmed Goros, Minister, Jubbaland State Ministry of Public Works.

“The Somalia Regional Corridors Infrastructure Programme is of great importance to the country as it will not only enhance inter-state connectivity, but will also create jobs and hopefully slow down recruitment of youth by militant groups,” Hoosow remarked.

The ceremony followed the conclusion of a SRCIP appraisal mission to Somalia during which about 30 representatives of the Federal Government of Somalia, Federal Member States, the Bank and the EU discussed the programme components, financing plans, implementation, procurement, financial and disbursement arrangements.

“Infrastructure development is an important enabler of economic growth as it attracts investments and creates job opportunities.” said Carlo Campanile, the Italian ambassador to Somalia

According to Guglielmo Giordano, Head of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Somalia, the presence of Federal Member States officials demonstrates Somalia’s desire to unite towards infrastructure development.

Charles Muthuthi, Somalia Macroeconomist at the Bank, said the development finance institution will continue to leverage its resources and capabilities to support Somalia’s infrastructure rehabilitation and economic development programs.

The Multi-Partner Infrastructure Fund has so far received support from the Bank, the Government of Italy, the EU, Islamic Development Bank and United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).