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Why the Somali National Army is underfunded

Saturday February 25, 2017
By Liban Ahmad

With the inauguration of the President of Somalia comes a new policy initiative awaiting decision about funding AMISOM and the Somali National Army through Somalia Trust Fund for AMISOM and the Somali National Army. According to Paul D. Williams, Associate Professor of International Affairs at the George Washington University and a Non- Resident Senior Adviser at the International Peace Institute, Turkey and Saudi Arabia each contributed less than a tenth of what United Kingdom had contributed to the Trust (see the chart below).

The shortfall in the Somalia Trust Fund  for AMISOM and the Somali National Army has implication for the capacity-building initiatives for  the Somali Army. Somalia does not have an inclusive army. The new policy adopted by the Somalia's partners to fund regional forces could weaken the case for an inclusive Somali Army and deepen dependency on AMISOM.

Britain and EU pay salaries  of the Somali National  Army and police forces.

While it is true that lack of cooperation among Somali political elites diverts the attention of Somalia's partners from  properly funding the Somali National Army to putting funding requirements of AMISOM first, the objective to make  a Trust for both goals reflects a situation similar to market cannibalisation: substantially  reduced funding for local troops to boost morale and commitment of foreign peace-keepers through generous funding.

The combination of low morale of troops and irregular payment of salaries for Somali troops  will have adverse impact on stabilisation programmes  for Somalia at the core of "UK’s multi-agency approach to [ supporting ] ...Somali-led initiatives that collect community intelligence while expressing the value residents place on social capital and information" to make Mogadishu safe.

Before Somalia's international partners devised a new strategy to support forces based in Federal States the Army Integration Committee visited Kismayo, Baydhaba and  Garowe to assess how the clan-based Somali National Army could be transformed into an army with which all Somalis can identify.

In the in-tray of Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire is a task awaiting  decision either to give the International Community the green light to implement the Somali National Army funding  strategy  reported in the Times of London or renegotiate  the SNA funding strategy approved by donor countries. Whichever option the Federal Government of Somalia settles on it is worth asking  whether the  underfunded  Somali National Army and security forces  will fare better under the new strategy or whether the situation  will remain unchanged even if the government renegotiates the funding strategy.  One lesson the new administration can learn from its predecessor is to avoid making  security-related promises the administration will not be able to keep. The Somali National Army will remain underfunded and demoralised if the new leadership in Villa Somalia and federal states do not discuss issues and agree building an inclusive Somali National Army;  dependency on  AMISOM will grow, so will the fatigue of donor countries.

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