Somalia ranks amongst the poorest countries in the world. During the last 25 years it has been driven apart by war and clan conflicts. Coming from far, the country has found the political will and the path to rebuild itself, with full support of the international community. EU support to Somalia is rooted in the desire to rebuild the state, improve stability and reduce poverty. It is implemented using a comprehensive approach based on active diplomacy and support to the political process, security support, development assistance and humanitarian aid.
Notwithstanding the progress, the challenges are enormous. Grievances and power struggles have led to the rise of terrorism. The country is highly exposed to floods and drought, which creates an acute vulnerability towards famine and humanitarian disasters. These natural elements alongside Somalia's volatile political and security situation lead to extensive displacements and refugee movements both within the country and beyond its borders.
The EU's engagement in Somalia has intensified over the years, with the EU remaining the largest donor both in terms of political engagement as well as financial and technical support and expertise. Since 2008 the EU has provided more than €1.2 billion to the country through various financial sources.
The Somali Compact provides the overarching framework for coordinating political and development efforts for peace and state building activities.
A large part of EU development funding to Somalia is financed by the European Development Fund. The cycle of 2014-2020 amounts to €286 million. It focuses on 3 sectors: (i) state building and peace building; (ii) food security and resilience; (iii) education.
Under the previous cycle of funding from 2008-2013, the EU dedicated €422 million to programmes in Somalia, with a main focus on state building, education, economic development and food security. One particular project with a budget of €30 million, the Education Sector Development Programme, is partly implemented in Somaliland, an autonomous region in the north of Somalia and addresses all levels of education, including primary and secondary education, technical and vocational education and training, higher education, teacher training and capacity building of education administrations. So far, 31 new schools, 194 wash facilities and 30 girl-friendly spaces have been built, and the programme has rehabilitated and furnished 167 classrooms.
Furthermore, Somalia is a beneficiary of actions under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, in particular related to peace-building efforts, the management of migration flows and displacement, in support of displaced persons within Somalia, as well as of returnees of Somali refugees from neighbouring countries.
Additional support to Somalia is channelled through other EU initiatives, in particular through the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace the Africa Peace Facility, the Global Public Goods and Challenges programme, the European Instruments for Democracy and Human Rights and three Common Security and Defence Policy missions (EUCAP Nestor, EU Naval Force Atalanta and EU Training Mission in Somalia).