British ambassador to Somalia beneath hearth for suspending mission

British ambassador to Somalia under fire for suspending project

MOGADISHU, Somalia – An unexpected intervention by British Ambassador to Somalia Kate Foster to end a critical halfway road project infuriates local communities in Galmudug and raises accusations of regional bias.

The Galkayo to Hobyo road project enjoyed strong community and donor support and aimed to improve connectivity. So far, the community has raised $ 6 million and built over 150 km of road, with an additional 120 km remaining.

On September 19, 2019, community leaders, with the support of the Galmudug administration, met with the Somali Stability Officer (SSF) and requested support to overcome the challenges facing the project due to lack of equipment. reliable. The meeting was organized by the Norwegian Embassy and brought together embassies, development agencies and representatives of the World Bank and the African Development Bank.

The follow-up meetings that followed with the Somalia Stability Fund and other donors yielded a positive result and after donors (Norway, Sweden, KfW, UK, Netherlands, Denmark and EU) had approved the delivery of the required equipment, the procurement process was initiated and a Request for Proposals (IFQ) was issued by SSF on Jan. 24, 2020, according to people familiar with the discussions. Due to delays caused by COVID 19 and the SSF mandate extension, the IFQ has been reissued and qualified suppliers have been identified.

Community leaders now accuse Ambassador Kate Foster of citing questionable reasons for unilateral cancellation of support for the road project despite approval from other donors, the Somalia Stability Fund and independent evaluators including Adam Smith International , on which the Embassy relies to assess the feasibility of funded development projects in Somalia.

Leaders say the ambassador’s intervention to block a critical development project could irreparably damage the UK’s image among communities in Somalia, especially those of Galmudug and Hirshabelle who accuse the UK of doing favoritism when it comes to supporting the Somali regions.



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