Aid watchdog commends British support for Somalia

23 Jun 17

The UK’s aid watchdog has said the country’s £185m in support for Somalia last year delivered “significant achievements”.

 

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Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia

Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia

 

In a report into British aid for the conflict-hit country, published today, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact commended the UK’s Department for International Development for its work in one of the world’s most difficult environments.

“Providing aid in the world’s most fragile state is extremely challenging,” said Richard Gledhill, the ICAI commissioner who led the review.

UK aid is helping to “build a new Somalia”, he continued, and has adapted its approach to overcome the country’s unique challenges, including reaching the needy in areas once controlled by militants.

He added: “But there are some important lessons for UK aid which need to be taken on board. In particular it is crucial that the government ensures its work is underpinned by an agreed view of the causes of Somalia’s conflict, to help target programmes and ensure they ‘do no harm’.”

The drivers of instability in Somalia are complex, meaning badly designed programmes could inadvertently undermine peace.

While Dfid acknowledges these challenges, ICAI warned gaps and inconsistencies in the department’s perspective needed to be addressed to better target programmes and ensure they do not create problems as well as try to solve them.

The UK government has recently announced another £100m for the country, which is currently at risk of famine, with international development secretary Priti Patel stressing the good UK aid is doing in the country.

Gledhill said it is important Dfid takes on the commission’s recommendations as it embarks on this long-term programme of support.

“There is still a substantial amount to do in some areas to improve stability in Somalia, and there are also some important lessons for UK aid in other conflict-affected states,” he added.

The commission’s other recommendations included doing more to promote inclusion and human rights in UK aid to Somalia, and ensuring Britain’s private sector contractors are subject to enough oversight as well as getting enough political support.

 

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