Speech of H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, President, Federal Republic of Somalia. High Level Meeting on Somalia,

United Nations Conference room 3.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen, and all friends of Somalia,
It is a great honour for me to be here with you all at this high-level meeting on Somalia on the margins of the UN General assembly.
I thank you all for your commitment to my country and its resilient and deserving people.

This meeting is taking place a few days before the Somali partnership forum in Mogadishu and I hope we can have frank discussions and exchanges on Somalia’s socio-economic, political and security progress during our discussions today before we congregate for a more comprehensive engagement in Mogadishu.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
It is important we recognize Somalia has come a long way. We truly have.
This is partly as a result of endless efforts of my government which is sincerely committed to achieving our national priorities of stability, economic recovery, good governance and inclusive politics.
Somalia’s challenges are not insurmountable and our efforts in many policy areas demonstrates that success is possible where we work together with our people and international partners to deliver results. This is evident in the clear progress we are making in security economic reforms, inclusive politics and good governance.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
Over the last few years, Somalia has been recovering steadily with the assistance of the international community and the realization by the Somali people that the way we have been is no longer tenable. Since coming to office, my government has constructively engaged the international community bilaterally and multilaterally including international financial institutions through the International Monetary Fund.

We are in the 4th IMF Staff Monitored Program and we have learnt an enormous amount from directly engaging in often very difficult reforms in extremely challenging circumstances.

Through a stringent reform process, we have been able to strengthen our financial management capacity and the overall governance of our fiscal and economic systems and processes with the intention of raising enough domestic revenue to cover the cost of running the federal government. Our efforts have led to a year on year increase in domestic revenue and the consistent payment of all civil servant and armed forces salaries for the first time since 1991.

We have also been able to finally biometrically register all our soldiers and we now are in the process of verifying them all. Now, we have the data to make the fiscal and economic decisions necessary for sustaining these key reforms and building on them further to achieve the national priorities of stability and economic development. Our budgeting and spending are credible and based on agreed priorities and incorporates public views. Our procurement systems, underpinned by law, allows for fair competition for the provision of goods and services to government and our ambitious financial and economic laws, either already passed or with Parliament, will ensure the sustainability of a robust and inclusive future economic development.

Economic and fiscal reforms are not possible without public trust. My government has prioritized good governance, fighting against corruption and full engagement with citizens, including members of the private sector that led to a steady increase in our domestic revenues. We are absolutely committed to enhancing and embedding transparency, individual and institutional accountability and direct public engagement in our reform process. I am proud to announce that I signed the Anti-Corruption Bill on Saturday 21st September 2019 after it cleared Law makers in the House of the People and Senate.

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our re-engagement with the International Financial Institutions is bearing fruit and we are working hard towards full re-engagement after debt cancellation.
My Government is determined to perform strongly on all reform fronts to achieve debt cancellation under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.
Debt cancellation is a fundamental priority for Somalia and its achievement is a primary objective for this government.
On our side, we are determined to successfully complete the IMF Staff Monitored Program requirements and build the necessary strong, transparent and accountable institutions to sustain economic development and growth. However, we know that this alone does not guarantee debt relief. Other factors that will play a major role is the willingness of creditors to continue assisting Somalia to achieve debt relief. We are very pleased to note that thus far, the signals we have been getting, in response to our successful reform implementation, have been positive and very encouraging. For debt relief to materialize, these signals must transform into actions, including provision of allocations of funds to address the issues of their debt at Decision Point, which we hope to reach by early next year in accordance with the current Staff Monitored Program. I therefore plead with all our valuable partners, some of whom are creditors, to champion debt cancellation for Somalia so that we can achieve Sustainable Development for the Somali people.

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Recurring humanitarian challenges in Somalia are an impediment to our people’s lives. We are grateful for the support of our Diaspora, people at home and our international partners in rising to the challenge of averting regular humanitarian emergencies. It saddens me enormously that Somalia’s humanitarian challenges are recurrent and Despite our best efforts to increase resilience and strengthen social protection, it is not possible for us alone to reverse these humanitarian difficulties given the need for sustained resources. Yes, our economy is projected to grow by 2.9% this year but this is not enough to cover our needs. Therefore, effective climate action, infrastructure, basic public services, and strong institution and human capital to manage them will benefit from the concessionary resources that will be available to Somalia after debt cancellation from International Financial Institutions. We therefore kindly request all our valuable partners work with us to achieve this noble goal so that our people can escape the trap of under-development and fragility in line with our National Development Plan priorities.

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
In Line with the Federal Government of Somalia’s Political Roadmap on Inclusive Politics, we are committed to holding universal suffrage parliamentary elections in the last quarter of 2020.
This is one of the Government’s key priorities for 2020 and the National Independent Electoral Commission is on track to deliver these elections on time with voter registration scheduled to be held from March to May 2020, and polling before the end of the year.
Hundreds of potential voter registration sites have already been identified in Galmudug, Hirshabelle, South West State and Benadir Region.
The Electoral Commission hopes to verify potential voter registration sites in Jubbaland and Puntland soon. Of course, these sites will need to be vetted by the security forces before the final list of voter registration sites are decided.
The National Independent Electoral Commission’s draft concept of operations and budget for the voter registration process have been presented to the Federal Government and all stakeholders. We are hopeful that, with the support of the international community, we will be able to realize these historic elections.
Currently, both the Electoral Law and the amended Political Party Law, are with Federal Parliament and need to be issued before the end of the year to enable the Electoral Commission to commence voter registration. The government will work with Parliament to ensure political buy-in of the Electoral Law by the Federal Member States, and include the necessary amendments requested by the Electoral Commission to allow it to have the flexibility to conduct elections in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.
Security is paramount in the conduct of these elections, starting from voter registration. The Federal Government is in the process of appointing the Electoral Security Task Force to allow for the timely planning of electoral security for voter registration and polling.

Safe, credible, timely and transparent elections are fundamental for inclusive politics and, while we will try our best to contribute from domestic financing for the endeavour, we are confident of the support of our international partners in this matter.

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Security is one of the key priorities of this government and much has been achieved in defeating Al-Shabaab militarily and ideologically.
Alongside the biometric registration of approximately 19,000 soldiers, we have made significant gains liberating and recapturing vital territory in the Lower Shabelle region and surrounding areas including Sabid, Marerey, Anole, Bariire, Xarshanley, El-Saliin, and Aw-Dhegle. Alongside the military efforts, our government is working with local communities to hold and rebuild the territory with their inclusive participation and with their priorities in mind.
Building a well-trained armed force to take over the responsibility of securing Somalia is a must and, our government, in partnership with AMISOM and other key international supporters, is working hard to achieve this through the Transition plan and in in line with the National Security Architecture.
The integration and re-integration of Somali National Forces is also on-going and this, supported by our government’s wider Human resource, financial management, inti-corruption efforts, good governance and operational reforms, will ensure the future security of Somalia and the safety of our people. I would like to thank the brave Somalia security forces and their partners, AMISOM and others, for their commitment, courage and sacrifice.

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am proud of the tangible steps my government is taking to advance the electoral process, accelerating the economic recovery and implementing the national security architecture. In all five areas, much progress has been made and more are envisaged as we advance towards solidifying and building on our current gains.
What matters most is that the Somali Government, people and our valuable international partners continue to work closely together in a mutually accountable manner. Of course, the Somali government and people will always do the heavy lifting of developing their country but we are also confident of the continuous strong support from our partners in assisting Somalia to a debt-free future of greater hope, progress and prosperity.