Germany in Somalia

Strand in Somalia

Strand in Somalia, © dpa


With the formation of an internationally recognized government and the passing of a transitional constitution in 2012, Somalia has embarked on the difficult road to building a state after decades of violent conflict and state failure. Since then, the country has achieved significant progress. After enacting far-reaching economic and financial reforms, Somalia qualified for substantial debt relief in March 2020, allowing the country to regain access to critical financial resources by the international financial institutions for the first time in 30 years. Somalia is currently also preparing for its first free and fair elections since 1969 that are scheduled for the end of the year and could lead to the third consecutive, peaceful transfer of power since 2012. Today, the situation on the ground is still complex. Parts of the Somali territory are still controlled by the jihadist al-Shabaab militia, conflicts between clans, some of them generations old, are still ongoing, and the political landscape is characterized  by ongoing tensions between the Federal Government and the Federal Member States. Despite the state-building and development gains, recurring natural disasters threaten the food security of millions of people, efforts to alleviate poverty, and the country’s further economic development. In coordination with the United Nations and other international partners, the Federal Republic of Germany supports the Somali authorities, various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the civil society on a federal, state, as well as local level in meeting the multiple humanitarian and political challenges.

Germany’s engagement in Somalia can be categorized into three pillars: stabilization and crisis prevention, development cooperation, and humanitarian aid.  In 2019, the Federal Foreign Office invested almost 20 million EUR (22.4 million USD) in stabilization-related projects. In October 2019, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) pledged to support new projects with 67 million EUR, bringing total German development spending in Somalia to approx. 350 million EUR (420 million USD) - making Germany the third largest bilateral development partner in Somalia. As second largest bilateral humanitarian donor, Germany also provided humanitarian aid to the tune of 76 million EUR (85.2 million USD) in 2019 alone. Thereby, Germany is making an important contribution to peacebuilding efforts and the development of a federal and democratic state, to Somalia’s economic development and the resilience of its population, as well as to preventing and alleviating humanitarian emergencies in the face of recurring droughts and sustained conflicts.

In the wake of the ongoing federalization process, the former autonomous region of Puntland has successfully been reintegrated into the Somali state. However, Somalia is still a divided country. The northern part, formerly British-Somaliland, declared its independence as far back as in 1991. The “Republic of Somaliland”, however, has not been recognized internationally. Nevertheless, the region has achieved a remarkable degree of stability and democratic standards. It has held several widely accepted elections followed by smooth transfers of power, most recently in November 2017. However, parliament has gone unchanged since 2005, as parliamentary elections have repeatedly been postponed ever since.   

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