Home » Somalia: Aics returns to field reconnaissance for cooperation initiatives

Somalia: Aics returns to field reconnaissance for cooperation initiatives

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For the first time in years, a delegation from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (Aics) was able to carry out a mission in Somalia outside the hyper-protected area of ​​Mogadishu airport, which in recent decades has represented the the only safe hub for embassies, cooperation agencies and humanitarian workers from which it was possible to leave only to a limited extent and by adopting extreme security measures.

Together with the Italian ambassador to Somalia, Pier Mario Daccò Coppi, the director of the Aics office in Nairobi, Giovanni Grandi, and the deputy Valeria Buoninfante, they were therefore able to carry out, always accompanied by an escort, three days of visits, institutional meetings and monitoring of ongoing initiatives in one of the priority countries of Italian Cooperation.

A first visit took place at De Martino in Mogadishu, the oldest and main hospital in the country historically supported by the Italian Cooperation. The numerous Italian interventions have allowed, among others, the construction of a recently inaugurated pediatric department, the supply of medicines even during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the general functioning of the structure.

The visit – we read in a note from Aics – was accompanied by the Minister of Health and Social Security of the Federal Government of Somalia, Ali Haji Adan, together with the director general of the Ministry of Health, Guled Abdijaliil, with the aim of identifying a new phase in the collaboration between the two countries, characterized by a gradual transition towards “ownership of the structure” by the Somali authorities.

Another meeting took place at the Somali National University (UNS) with the rector Hassan Osman Gagal to discuss possible further forms of collaboration. In fact, the Italian Cooperation has intervened since the Seventies to support the structure, also in partnership with Italian universities, developing Italian university courses, supporting the construction and redevelopment of infrastructures and creating an impressive digital archive for the systematization of knowledge of the Somali language, with a view to reaffirming national identity.

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The mission – we read further – was also an opportunity to carry out a reconnaissance on the sites of various structures linked to Italy, from the Consulate to the Italian school to the so-called Casa Italia, an imposing community center which for years represented a meeting place social for Italians in Somalia.

“This visit – we read in the note – represents a further step towards strengthening relations with Somalia, and its success is testimony to the fact that perhaps, beyond the enormous challenges that the country faces, also linked to natural shocks and the presence of terrorist cells, something is slowly changing.”

“The Somali government is progressively becoming a partner for the implementation of cooperation initiatives” stated Giovanni Grandi. “With the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Completion Point being reached in December 2023, whereby the Somali government has once again become eligible to take out concessionary loans with development banks, we hope to see the potential gradually unlocked that will enable the long-term GDP growth and the strengthening of the state budget. The Italian Cooperation wants to be present and invest in this change.” [Da Redazione InfoAfrica]

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