13 April 2017

Somalia: Sweden Pledges to Boost Humanitarian Assistance to Somalia

Sweden is set to increase its humanitarian assistance to Somalia as devastation by drought continues to hit most parts of the country, Swedish Ambassador to Somalia Mikael Lindvall told Radio Dalsan.

In an exclusive interview with Radio Dalsan's Hassan Istilla, Lindvall said he had recently visited drought-hit regions of Somalia to assess the situation.

"We took a decision two months ago of an extra twenty-two million dollars. We now look forward to increasing that" Lindvall told Radio Dalsan.

I have been to Bardheere and my colleagues have been to the Afgoye junction to see results of our assistance. We are in a much better truck than it was five or six years ago. But we are still facing the risk of a famine" Lindvall warned.

Lindvall has also met President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo to discuss on Sweden's assistance besides discussing anti-corruption security and reconciliation.

Among other projects funded by Sweden has been the construction of the Ministry of Health building which he recently handed over keys to Health Minister Fowzia and the Ministry of Finance building renovation.

Lindvall has served as the Scandinavian country's envoy to Somalia for five years now and praises achievement made by Somalis towards having fully democratic governance.

"We now have a Parliament that is younger, more women, much diversity. The whole (election) experience was a tough one but a positive and important step forward compared to 2012″ he said.

" We have increased our engagement in the last five years and it includes human rights, improved governance, health and youth employment" he explained.

"When I came we were only five on our team. We are now 15 staff at the Embassy. We have grown quite a lot since the time I came" Lindvall told Radio Dalsan.

On regional matters, Lindvall declined to comment on the controversial planned establishment of a military base by UAE in the breakaway region of Somaliland.

"I think this is being discussed with Farmaajo in Abu Dhabi. This is something for others to discuss" he said.

Lindvall remains optimistic about Somalia despite challenges it faces.

"I meet with Swedish Somalis every week most working at government offices mostly without pay.

I am impressed by them and impressed by Somalis for their resilience.My message to Somalis is to keep it up" he concluded.

Somalia is the second highest recipient of aid from Sweden.

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