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Frustration over AU's dependency on foreign aid: Ruto slams failure to support Somalia

Monday May 1, 2023


Mogadishu (HOL) - Kenyan President William Ruto expressed frustration over the African Union's (AU) reliance on foreign aid to support Somalia during the Mo Ibrahim Foundation Governance Conversation in Nairobi. Ruto criticized the AU's management and effectiveness in addressing Africa's challenges, highlighting the organization's dependence on external partners like the European Union (EU) to support peacekeeping missions and humanitarian efforts.

"Today, we cannot even support Somalia. We are waiting for the EU to give us $85 million. It is madness. Are you telling me 54 countries, 60 years after independence, cannot manage $85 million to support Somalia, which has no government?" Ruto slammed. His comments followed his attendance at an AU Troop-contributing countries summit in Kampala, where progress and challenges in Somalia were discussed.

Somalia has been plagued by conflict and instability since the collapse of its central government in 1991. In 2007, the AU established the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to stabilize the country, support the Federal Government of Somalia, and create a safe environment for humanitarian assistance and reconstruction. AMISOM was replaced by the AU Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) in April 2022, which will operate until the end of 2024.

Kenya is one of the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) in AMISOM and ATMIS. Ruto reiterated the country's commitment to stabilizing Somalia, transforming it into a peaceful country, and neutralizing the threat posed by the Al-Shabaab group. 

However, AU's involvement in Somalia has faced numerous challenges and criticisms, including limited resources and funding, affecting the mission's effectiveness and sustainability. Ruto emphasized that the AU should prioritize African interests and not rely on external partners, such as the United Nations and European Union, for logistical and financial support.

Ruto called on global financial institutions to view Africa as a promising investment spot instead of just a high-risk borrower, advocating for a win-win financial architecture that supports developing countries with just interest rates on loans, allowing for the sustainable development of African nations.

He also criticized the limited power of the AU Commission Chairman, arguing that the current management architecture needed to be revised. He argued that heads of state should not retain all powers while attempting to run both their countries and the African continent.


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