German development cooperation in Somalia

10.06.2020 - Article


In October 2019, the Federal Government of Somalia and the German Government (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, BMZ) pledged to extend their bilateral cooperation by another 67 million EUR. This brings Germany’s total bilateral support to Somalia to currently approx. 350 million EUR.

The top priorities of the Somali-German bilateral development cooperation have shifted towards sustainable economic development as well as agriculture / rural development and water management. This includes the continuation of Germany’s efforts to revamp Somalia’s system for multi-year technical and vocational training courses, promote the private sector, strengthen community level resilience as well as to provide sustainable urban infrastructure. A further priority is to assist in providing durable solutions for the large number of displaced persons (IDPs) / returnees and host communities in Somalia.

The substantial portfolio of German development cooperation in Somalia is an expression of the substantial progress made by the country thus far. The broad range of activities, implemented in close partnership with the Somali authorities on all levels of government, is designed to contribute directly to a trajectory of peace and prosperity for the people of Somalia.

The portfolio of the German development cooperation in Somalia in more detail:

The overall goal is to foster inclusive economic growth and sustainable development to contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous Somalia. Key initiatives include:

  • Construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure, with a specific focus on urban infrastructure. These activities will be implemented through the Multi Partner Fund (MPF) of the World Bank. Key cities will be Mogadishu, Baidoa, Kismayo and Garowe.
  • Job creation for the youth through Technical and Vocational Training (TVET). These activities will increasingly contribute to the creation of sustainable life perspectives, especially for the young population of Somalia. The focus is on re-building a system of multi-year TVET programmes and shifting away from short-term to systematic long-term trainings. Components of the programme are due to be implemented in Kismayo, Hargeisa, Garowe, Wacye, Galkayo and Mogadishu. Subjects to be covered in future trainings include agriculture, car mechanics, media design and construction.
  • In the medium term, an increasing focus will be placed on the promotion of the nascent Somali private sector.

In light of recurring extreme weather events in the region, Germany is continuing and reinforcing its engagement to strengthen the resilience of the Somali people. Our objective is to build the resilience of communities and institutions against the impact of conflicts and climate‐related crises on the local level by enabling them to develop coping mechanisms. This approach allows us to move away from a pure emergency response to one of recovery and long-term sustainability. Key projects include: 

  • A significant part of the portfolio is allocated to providing critical nutrition services at facility and community levels for up to 1.2 million people, with a special emphasis on women and children. The approach addresses malnutrition through health, nutrition, and WASH interventions. Furthermore, it aims at improving access to basic education and services by building resilient schools.
  • Our support to the integration of returnees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) through a community-oriented approach seeks to improve livelihoods, provide long-term perspectives and income generation, as well as reduce the cost of living. Following a comprehensive and conflict-sensitive approach, host communities are also included in the provision of services under the programme. 
  • To improve food security and reduce malnutrition in Kismayo, our engagement promotes communities’ access to fishery products as well as the consumption of fish. Traditionally. fish consumption has played only a minor role in the nutrition habits of the Somali population but is becoming more and more important in light of increasingly difficult conditions for agriculture and pastoralism.
  • The ecosystems in Somalia are under severe pressure through erosion and deforestation, for instance for charcoal production. Ground water sources are not sufficiently recharged due to high run off water. The Sustainable Land Management component of our engagement seeks to addresses these challenges, notably  in “Somaliland”. It supports particularly poor populations in improving access to clean water and basic sanitation. The programme also strives to reduce land degradation and erosion in water catchment areas in order to stabilize the water balance and contribute to agricultural and pastoral productivity. Finally, it builds capacity across a broad range of stakeholders to become more effective in sustainably managing land and natural resources. The programme benefits considerably from synergies with ongoing efforts to expand the urban water supply in Hargeisa, which Germany has been supporting for several years. Given the positive results, this successful approach will be expanded in the future.

Agriculture and pastoralism form the backbone of the Somali economy, being the biggest source of employment and contributing the biggest share of GDP. However, the value chains are not yet robust enough to withstand both internal and external shocks. As of 2020, the German Development Cooperation is beginning to engage systematically in this sector in order to strengthen the agricultural systems of Somalia, including pastoralism. The engagement will build, in part, on expanding the successful approach to improving sustainable land management. It is also envisaged to support the federal government in improving the setting of standards for agricultural imports and exports.

Another new project seeks to improve the capacity of water institutions on a federal and state level to effectively manage the increasingly limited water resources for the rehabilitation of agricultural production systems in the Somali part of the Shabelle basin.

Furthermore, the German Government supports non-governmental organizations, implementing a broad range of activities relevant to sustainable development in Somalia. Important partners include Care Germany, the German Red Cross, Diakonisches Werk, Save the Children, Veterinaries Without Borders, Deutsche Welthungerhilfe, action medeor, Kindernothilfe, American Friends Service Committee, Action Africa Help International, Community Organisation for Relief and Development as well as SOS Kinderdörfer Worldwide.

For further information please refer to the following sources:

Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

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