Aics: the first mission carried out in Somalia outside the compound

Mogadishu, 7th February 2024 – For the first time in years, a delegation from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (Aics) Office in Nairobi was able to realize a mission in Somalia outside the hyper-protected area of ​​Mogadishu airport, which in recent years has represented the only safe hub for Embassies, cooperation agencies and humanitarian operators. It was possible to leave the compound only to a limited extent and by adopting strict security measures. Together with the Italian Ambassador to Somalia, Pier Mario Daccò Coppi, the Head of the Aics office in Nairobi, Giovanni Grandi, and the deputy Head of Office, Valeria Buoninfante, were therefore able to carry out a three days of visits and institutional meetings and monitoring of ongoing initiatives in one of the priority countries of our Cooperation.

A first visit took place at ‘De Martino’ in Mogadishu, the oldest and main hospital in the country historically supported by the Italian Cooperation. The numerous Italian interventions have allowed, among others, the construction of a recently inaugurated paediatric department, the provision of medicines even during the COVID19 pandemic, and the general functioning of the structure. The visit was accompanied by the Minister of Health and Social Security of the Federal Government of Somalia, Dr. Ali Haji Adan, together with the Director General of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Guled Abdijaliil, with the aim of identifying a new phase in the collaboration between the two countries characterized by a gradual transition towards ownership of the structure by the Somali authorities.

Another meeting took place at the Somali National University (UNS) with the Rector Prof. Hassan Osman Gagal to discuss possible further forms of collaboration. In fact, the Italian Cooperation has intervened since the 1970s in support of the University, also in partnership with Italian universities, developing Italian university courses, supporting the construction and requalification of infrastructures and creating a massive digital archive for the systematisation of knowledge of the Somali language, in a view of supporting Somalia in reaffirming its national identity.

The mission was also an opportunity to visit the sites of various structures linked to our country, from the Consulate to the Italian school to the so-called ‘Casa Italia’, an imposing community center which for years has represented a social aggregation hub for Italians in Somalia.

This visit represents a further step towards the strengthening of our relations with Somalia, and its success is evidence of the fact that perhaps, beyond the enormous challenges that the country is facing, also linked to natural shocks and the presence of terrorists, something is slowly changing.

‘The Somali government is progressively becoming a partner for the implementation of cooperation initiatives‘, says Giovanni Grandi of Aics Nairobi. ‘With the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Completion Point being reached in December 2023, whereby the Somali government has once again become eligible to take out concessionary loans with development banks, we hope to see the potential gradually unlocked to enable long-term GDP growth and strengthening the state budget. The Italian Cooperation wants to be present and invest in this change’.

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