SPEECH President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, HLPF Mogadishu, July (29-30) 2015

Presidents of Regional Administrations,
Mr Nicholas Kay, Special Representative of the Secretary General for Somalia,

Excellences, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the Federal Government of Somalia, it is my great pleasure to welcome you today to Mogadishu for the High Level Partnership Forum.

I acknowledge the United Nations in their role as Co-Chair and offer my appreciation for their continued commitment to Somalia.

I am pleased that Somalia is present here as one delegation, with representation from the Interim Regional Administrations. I am saddened that Somaliland has decided not to join us, but the Federal Government will continue to make sure they benefit from the Somali Compact.

In 2013, on the endorsement of the Somali Compact, the Federal Government, Parliament, regions and people of Somalia, and international partners established a partnership – a partnership based on common goals and shared effort in achieving those goals. We shared then, and continue to share now a deep desire to ensure a peaceful and prosperous future for Somalia.

This is of course, what is at the heart of the New Deal Compact: a commitment to a new way of ‘doing development’. We deliberately signed up to a process that was meant to be a paradigm shift away from ‘business as usual’ of the past.

At the heart of the New Deal Compact is a set of principles: Somali leadership and ownership, nationally determined and Government-aligned priorities delivered in partnership with Somali institutions, and in line with the national budget cycle, channelled through preferred instruments of the Government. Development in Somalia is supposed to support the capacity development of Somali institutions: Government institutions in particular. What is delivered should be coordinated so that it doesn’t double up. It must be provided transparently and in time. Importantly, it should do no harm.

You can see some of the principles reflected around you today. We all agreed in Brussels, in 2013, that these principles – the Partnership Principles- would govern our relationship.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Six months ago in Copenhagen, my Government made several concrete, public promises. In short, we promised to get our political act together. We delivered on these for the good of Somalia.

Over the past several months, Somalia has realised several incredible goals: 3 interim regional administrations have been peacefully formed- the Interim Jubba Administration, Interim South West Administration and the Interim Galmudug Administration. The Boundaries and Federation Commission and the National Independent Election Commission have been established, the review of the Constitution is underway, an action plan and guiding principles for the electoral process for 2016 will be tabled today, and troop integration has begun in Kismayo with more than 2500 troops enrolled.

We have evidenced our commitment to eradicating violent extremism through the recent publication of 11 most wanted terrorists, and ongoing military action against al-Shabaab. Ministers will highlight other specific areas of progress over the course of the day.

From the Government’s perspective we are clear that great and grave issues confront us still. We must form the remaining interim regional administrations, we must ensure a strong, relevant Constitution that is clear and applicable to all, and that safeguards the rights of all Somalis; we must ensure an electoral process is in place to assure the safe, irrefutable and democratic transition of power in 2016; we must ensure that the processes and systems that signal good governance are linked up from centre to states and witnessed by all across Somalia; we must ensure that laws that help to guide our progress and our functions are in place and applied; we must train, equip and integrate to ensure a Somali Armed Forces that is capable of standing alone to maintain the security of Somalia; we must invest in rapid infrastructure development that builds strong domestic revenue streams; we must secure the future of our children through the provision of education and health care; we must make sure that violent extremism eradicated from Somalia; we must create meaningful employment is on offer to all; we must invest in the girls and women of Somalia so that the future is equally bright and accessible to all. There can be no discussion about these things; no deviation from what we agree is right and necessary.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

Over the next two days, we will hear from the Ministries about their plans to action these items in line with the five Peace and State-building Goals.

Again, as we experience each SDRF meeting and each HLPF meeting we will hear prepared interventions that recognise elements of progress, confirm confidence in the way forward, and urge all haste in achieving a set list.

Today, I must ask all to look frankly at the other side of the bargain that we struck in Brussels.

If you will allow me to be frank, I must ask, what will Somalia hear from our international partners today? Will we hear that the national window of the UN Multi-Donor Trust Fund is about to be significantly invested in? After all, six projects worth 170 million USD have been funded through the sister donor window. Will we hear that the country system policy outlined in Copenhagen, and significantly refined in the past six months, is now ready to be activated, with full support from the donor community? Will we hear that activity reports will be freely shared with the Government, and not just when we undertake an aid mapping exercise? Will we hear that there is a renewed commitment to not just a set of principles, but the concrete actions that accompany them?

Mutual accountability based on mutual trust must not be a pipeline dream. The New Deal cannot be a good deal if it is no deal for Somalia. To that end, we are pleased that one of our discussion items for this HLPF is the review proposed for the New Deal Somali Compact. The Government is committed to a full and frank discussion about what has worked, what hasn’t and what needs to improve on our side.

We must be united if we are to succeed. Nowhere will this be more important than in relation to Vision 2016.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Somalia’s future depends not only on whether we achieve Vision 2016, but on how it is achieved. Participation, inclusion and good governance will be critical to both the validity of the processes involved and the results. The leadership and visibility of the Government in putting together the plans, managing the activities and reporting on results will be crucial. We were grateful that the international community supported the Government to internally consult and deliberate in order to develop the Action Plan for reaching a workable agreement on the electoral process. I acknowledge the important role of the co-leads of PSG1 in regard to this.

We have the opportunity now to ensure the broad participation and inclusion that is a hallmark of a functioning democracy. I will leave it up to the Minister of Interior and Federal Affairs to outline in more detail the substance of the action plan and guiding principles, but I want to be clear on a couple of points.

The future of Somalia is embedded in democracy and will only be secured through inclusivity, diversity and equality of access to that democracy. These ideals will be best secured by an election that allows every eligible citizen the chance to directly elect their own representative. However that will not be possible in 2016.

Hence, let me be clear: the goal posts have not changed: one person, one vote is undeniably the best option for future transfers of political power in Somalia.

But with any large-scale political endeavour that results in profound change, we must be sure that those changes, and the process through which we arrive at that do not create the very conflict it is designed to prevent in future.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the next six months through a national consultation mechanism: the Federal Parliament, the executive, regional leadership, and the Somali people, must work together to determine how we best ensure the smooth transfer legitimacy of the transfer of power in 2016. The process must be aligned with the spirit of the Constitution and should ensure an outcome that is representative of Somalia society today. Also the outcome of the process must satisfy, clear agreed criteria and will be accountable to the Somali people.

National unity must be safeguarded through the process, and the process should also be realistic with regard to Somalia’s security, resource and capacity situation, transparent and accountable.

This will be no small feat. As President, I commit wholeheartedly to making sure we achieve this. I count on your support to make this possible.

In closing, I wish to recognise and extend my gratitude to the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers, Ministries, agencies and Government staff for their hard work and dedication and request their continued efforts in terms of implementing their roles.

I acknowledge the commitment and sacrifice of our Somali defence institutions and grieve the loss of our soldiers and security staff who have died in the pursuit of peace. We acknowledge the contribution that our AMISOM colleagues have made and the casualties they have suffered. We must never forget that these meetings, the discussions we have, the plans we make are for one purpose only: to ensure a better future for all Somalis. We have no other ambition.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

I also want to acknowledge the staunch support of our international partners, and thank you again for travelling to join us here in Mogadishu. We are still meeting on the wrong side of the fence, but at least we are here in Mogadishu, on the ground, in Somalia. No one would have believed, even just two years ago, that we would be able to meet here today. What a great occasion! And it is with a commensurate sense of celebration and pride that I look forward to the discussions we will have over the next two days.

Importantly, I recognise the people of Somalia. I recognise the brave resilience of Somalis who stayed during the years of conflict, working the soil, fishing the oceans, opening small businesses, caring for their families – ensuring that while the mechanisms of the state may have failed, the ability to quickly get back up never diminished. We welcome those bright, ambitious young Somalis who fled when children as refugees and who are now returning home, often at their own expense to play a role in ensuring a better future for their own children. We take our hats off to the private sector entrepreneurs who are beginning to invest in Somalia- braving the risks for great reward.

We are not daunted by the task ahead of us. We have all the reasons in the world to get it right. With an unparalleled position as the bridge between Africa and Arabia, the longest coast-line in Africa, unplundered ocean resources, valuable mineral deposits littered across the country, viable oil and gas opportunities, the best wind power potential in the world, a fast-growing, young, ambitious population and a determination to make a mark, we are confident the future is bright.

Thank you