Germany and Somalia: Bilateral Relations Somalia

21.03.2019 - Article

Political relations

Bilateral relations between Germany and Somalia have picked up considerably since 2012. Annett Günter is the third German Ambassador to be appointed since that date. She presented her credentials to President Farmajo of Somalia on 7 October 2018. In Somalia, Germany is considered a welcome and visibly supportive partner. For its own part, Germany is keen to see a secure, stable and democratic Somalia. With this in mind, German engagement in Somalia comprises the following elements:

Humanitarian aid:

Given the repeated severe droughts suffered by the country – most recently in 2017 – Somalia is categorised as a country in long-term humanitarian crisis, with parts of the population permanently reliant on emergency aid for survival. Germany is one of Somalia’s biggest humanitarian donors. In 2018, the Federal Foreign Office provided funds totalling over 75 million euros. Implementing partners include the United Nations as well as German and international aid organisations. The German Government has also contributed to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). In addition, it is providing support to Somali refugees, especially those living in the large refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia. Through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) it is also financing a special initiative to reintegrate refugees and promote cooperation with the receiving communities in southern Somalia.

Development cooperation:

The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has lead responsibility for development cooperation with Somalia. Cooperation was suspended during the civil war, but was resumed in 2014 and has since been constantly enhanced and expanded. At the bilateral intergovernmental negotiations in Berlin on 4 October 2017, the German Government pledged 103.44 million euros to help rebuild Somalia. Together with the commitments made in 2018 and support for NGOs, German funding now totals roughly 322 million euros. The Somali and German Governments jointly decided that bilateral development cooperation should be oriented thematically on the new Somalia National Development Plan, which was adopted in early 2017. Cooperation is coordinated with other development partners. The focuses are on (i) promoting employment (especially through vocational training) and sustainable growth (especially urban infrastructure) and (ii) increasing resilience with the aim of improving structural conditions so as to sustainably enhance people’s perspectives and potential livelihoods. A key issue here is the long-term integration in urban areas of internally displaced persons and returnees from abroad in the south of the country, and support for the receiving communities.

Cooperation on security, stabilisation and crisis management

The German Government is engaged in Somalia with a multi-dimensional crisis prevention, stabilisation and post-conflict peacebuilding strategy, on which the Federal Foreign Office has spent more than 30 million euros since 2015. In this way Germany is making a significant contribution to the development of federal structures in Somalia. This support for the federalisation process takes the form of a network of advisers to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of the Interior as well as to all state governments. At the same time, the German Government is supporting security sector reform by helping to establish a federal police structure. This work on strategic federal institutions is complemented by capacity building to support Hirshabelle, Somalia’s youngest and weakest state. The German Government is also supporting local mediation processes to resolve a conflict between two regional states, Galmudug and Puntland, that is hampering the federalisation process.

The German Government is moreover helping to facilitate the civilian reintegration of former al-Shabaab fighters. It provides the International Organization for Migration with German financial assistance for its work, together with local authorities, in running centres in Baidoa and Kismayo that enable the fighters to make the transition to normal life and that manage the process of reconciliation with the local population.

To help Somalia fulfil its obligations under the sanctions regime of the United Nations Security Council, the German Government is also funding the construction of armouries that meet international standards and the training of personnel to ensure the safe storage and management of the Somali armed forces’ weapons and ammunition.

Germany is involved in the European Union’s civilian and military operations in the Horn of Africa as part of the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy, and also participates in United Nations missions. In addition to seconding police officers to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), Germany is also combating piracy in the European Union-led naval force’s operation Atalanta and contributing to the European Union Capacity Building Mission in Somalia (EUCAP Somalia, formerly EUCAP NESTOR), which is intended to enhance Somali capabilities in the field of maritime security. The EU is also running a military training mission in Somalia (EUTM SOM).

Through its payments to the United Nations budget, Germany helps fund the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) and through its contributions to the European Union’s African Peace Facility (APF) it supports the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), which has been endorsed by the United Nations Security Council.

Economic relations

Economic relations are practically non-existent due to the absence of the necessary structures.

This text is intended as a source of basic information. It is regularly updated. No liability can be accepted for the accuracy or completeness of its contents. 

Additional content

Pirates detained off the Somali coast
Pirates detained off the Somali coast © picture-alliance/dpa


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