Turkish investment in Somalia had broader economic impact

Turkey’s investment and development aid to Somalia has had a broader economic impact, according to the special representative of the U.N. secretary-general for Somalia.

“We see Turkish response in key needs. Turkish efforts on road-building [or] private sector initiatives to improve functioning and the performance of the airport to ensure the operation of the seaport have had a broader economic impact, particularly in Mogadishu,” James Swan told the Hürriyet Daily News.

“These are critical pieces of economic infrastructure for the country,” he said.

Turkey and Somalia’s multi-tiered relations accelerated since 2011 when Ankara lent a helping hand to the Horn of Africa country during its catastrophic famine. As then-prime minister and currently incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became the first non-African leader to visit Somalia, the two countries have been in close cooperation and partnership ever since.

Today, Turkey’s investment in Somalia totals an amount of $1 billion. Apart from humanitarian and development efforts, Turkey also has its largest-ever military base in the country.

“The extended support through the Turkish military training program has helped to build Somali security capability. This is important because, ultimately the expectation is that Somali forces take over primary responsibility for the nation’s security. But for that to happen, they will have to have trained equipped capable forces,” Swan said.

“Turkey has been supportive in all of those areas,” he added.

Recently, Turkey and many other countries have chipped for Somalia’s debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), as part of an initiative the fund kicked off earlier this year to relieve the heavy debts of low-income countries.

According to Swan, the debt relief is significant for Somalia to access new grant financing, especially when it is tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

But Swan also underlined that it is essential for Somalia to continue the future reforms so that “they can reach the Completion Point and benefit fully from the impact of debt relief.”

@Huriyat daily news

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