Prime Minister salutes Saudi Arabia and OIC on launch of landmark relief programme

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His Excellency Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon today welcomed the launch of a major Saudi-funded relief programme covering health, education and welfare in Somalia.

“The world has acknowledged the enormous progress recorded in the past couple of years and we are moving steadily from emergency relief to recovery,” the Prime Minister said. “We used to receive international assistance for famine and humanitarian disasters. Today we receive it for rebuilding Somalia. At the same time we recognize that after two decades of war many of the most basic needs of Somali people – especially health and education – are not being met, which is why the programme launched today is so critical.”

The Prime Minister praised the Saudi and OIC contribution, which would be directly aligned with government priorities.

“My government has a clear agenda and plan for stabilizing and rebuilding Somalia, which is supported by the international community. I am confident that with the level of support announced today and our clear political direction we will be able to bring critical assistance to many Somalis. I thank the Saudis for their great generosity and I also appeal to other members of OIC, of which Somalia was a founding member, to support our recovery with additional contributions.”

The first phase of the programme launched today will see $24m spent in five sectors – health, education, water projects, social welfare and emergency relief. The programme is funded by the Saudi National Campaign for Relief of Somali People, represented by Sheikh Abdullah Sheikh Mohammed, and will be supervised by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The breakdown of activities will be 45% education; 20% health; 22% social welfare; 5% agriculture; 8% emergency relief. The programme aims to build and renovate 30 primary and secondary schools, four health centres, and rehabilitate four hospitals and three mobile clinics delivering health services to IDPs. The Saudi initiative has already completed 50 boreholes in 11 regions. The three-phase programme will be worth $72m in total.

Thanking the Somali government for facilitating and coordinating the intervention and the Saudi government for supporting it, the OIC representative Ahmed Mohamed said it was “a great example of cooperation between OIC member states and countries in development”.

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