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Somalia's climate change mitigation, economic recovery in focus at AfDB meeting

Wednesday May 24, 2023

Sharm El Sheikh (HOL) - Somali Prime Minister Hamsa Abdi Barre was a key figure at the 2023 annual African Development Bank Group meetings in Sharm El Sheikh City, Egypt.

The meetings held from May 22 to May 26 brought leaders from across Africa together to discuss pivotal issues. This year's theme was "Mobilizing Private Sector Financing for Climate and Green Growth in Africa." 

Prime Minister Barre was part of a panel discussion alongside several African leaders, including the Prime Ministers of Egypt, Rwanda, and Burundi, the President of Comoros, and the Vice President of Tanzania. He emphasized the crucial role of development banks in addressing the region's challenges. He stressed their importance for countries recovering from conflicts and attempting to adapt to the global economic system.

Somalia has faced significant hurdles over the years, ranging from militant insurgency and political instability to natural disasters and famine. These issues have created substantial humanitarian and developmental needs. Furthermore, Somalia's unique federal system, where significant powers are devolved to regional states, adds extra layers of complexity for aid and development interventions.

Addressing these challenges, Prime Minister Barre highlighted his government's focus on six pillars for Somalia's progress and prosperity. Among these, a major emphasis has been on economic development and climate change mitigation. 

A recent study has underscored the urgency of such efforts. The report found that the ongoing drought in the Horn of Africa, which has left an estimated 4.35 million people in dire need of humanitarian aid, has been made at least 100 times more likely due to climate change. This harsh reality puts into perspective the importance of Somalia's efforts to build climate resilience.

Despite these challenges, Somalia has been making strides toward recovery with the support of development banks like the AfDB. Over the years, the AfDB has played a critical role in supporting Somalia's development. Their engagement has been multifaceted, including emergency humanitarian aid, debt relief, infrastructure development, institutional capacity building, and support for private sector development.

Significantly, the AfDB has strongly advocated for Somalia's debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. In March 2020, the AfDB cleared Somalia's $122 million in arrears to the bank, which marked a significant step towards easing the country's debt burden and enabling it to access new resources.

The AfDB said it has committed to helping to de-risk and remove business barriers to increase private investors' contribution to climate finance on the continent. 


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