East African regional grouping, the Intergovernmental Authority and Development (IGAD), has agreed to create a trust fund for the reconstruction of Somalia.
The money, the amount of which the leaders did not specify, will be used for the construction of basic facilities inside Somalia that will make the country habitable for Somali refugees returning from neighbouring countries.
IGAD consists of Somalia’s neighbours Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan and Eritrea.
It has been 25 years since the first refugees set foot at the Daadab, Somali’s neighbours met in Nairobi to seek a lasting solution to the Somali refugee crisis.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says, “Dadaab has become a protracted situation, characterized by hopelessness that easily feeds environmental destruction; conflicts between refugees and host communities; insecurity; radicalization; criminality; and allows terrorist operatives to exploit it for their operational efforts.”
More than 20 years of war have left the country battered but regional leaders are hinging their hopes of a stable Somalia on the election of Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed as the country’s new president.
Kenyatta says, “I propose the establishment of a trust fund for the reconstruction of Somalia under the auspices of IGAD. Such a fund would mobilise the resources for the provision of adequate housing, educational facilities, healthcare centres and livelihood activities, among others.”
Kenya says the refugees will be more useful at home.
Interior Security minister Joseph Nkaissery says 60 000 refugees have returned home since the voluntary repatriation, since the return process started in December 2014.
“We want the refugees to go back and help to ensure their country comes back to normalcy.”
Donor fatigue and the lack of commitment by the international community to help Somalia’s neighbours shoulder the refugee burden came into focus.
Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailmariam Desalegn says, “Countries that host large refugee numbers need enhanced support to reduce the burden on overstretched systems and resources.”
“But even Kenya insists that it will closing the Daadab refugee camp and her border to Somali refugees. There is a drought in Somalia that could turn into a famine and there will be definitely be an exodus into neighbouring countries including Kenya.”
Somalia new President Mohammed Abdullahi says, “I am confident that you will continue to honour the institution of Assylum and maintain our people in dignity in the best tradition of African hospitality.”
More 20 000 African Union troops that are battling the AL Qaeda linked Al Shabab militants in the country.
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– By Sarah Kimani