Following the collapse of the Government in 1991, much of Somalia suffered a quarter century of conflict. The Somali Compact agreed in Brussels in September 2013 paves the way for an inflow of help to restore the economy and help the country’s people, estimated to number 12.3 million.
A coastal land of plateaus, plains and highlands in eastern Africa, Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is hot all year round, with periodic monsoon winds and irregular rainfall.
Suffering frequent droughts and famines, Somalia is among the bottom five of 170 countries listed in the 2012 Human Development Index (HDI value is strikingly low at 0.285).
About 40 per cent of the population lives in extreme poverty: in rural areas, where in 2012 an estimated 62 per cent of people lived, more than half live in extreme poverty. In less unstable regions, such as northern Somaliland and Puntland – rural poverty and food insecurity are less critical.
Elsewhere, insecurity, lack of functional infrastructure and poor access to irrigation have reduced already-low crop yields. Only 1.6 percent of Somalia's total land area is cultivated, and 69 percent is permanent pasture (FAO, 2012).
Before the civil war, bananas and sugarcane represented the major cash crops. Due to lack of inputs, drought, and poor infrastructures, cash crops production and export over the last two decades declined sharply.
In central and southern Somalia, irrigation is restricted to the relatively and continuously diminishing fertile areas around the Shabelle River, where the main crops are maize, rice, sesame, cowpeas, bananas, papayas, lemons, grapefruit and mangoes.
Somalia’s poverty and food security situation remains critical after years of conflict and natural disasters.
IFAD's interventions are aligned with the IFAD Strategy for engagement in countries with fragile situations. The IFAD programmes also contribute to enhanced resilience of communities in the face of increasing vulnerabilities due to famines, droughts and climate-related shocks. The strategic objectives of IFAD interventions in Somalia are to:
- increase incomes and food security by supporting agriculture and related activities, improving access to water, sanitation and health care, strengthening the natural resource base and building rural financial services;
- identify and promote pro-poor investment mechanisms in rural areas for dissemination, replication and scaling up; and
- contribute to the country stabilization and peace building
IFAD's activities strive to improve availability of water for irrigation and livestock, including building of sand dams to enable farming throughout the year.
Improving access to rural finance has helped empower rural women and communities. IFAD helps project beneficiaries participate in the development and strengthening of their own institutions, a strategic priority.
IFAD is also aligning its work in Somalia with the framework developed under the Facility for Refugees, Migrants, Forced Displacement and Rural Stability (FARMS).
IFAD does not work directly in food aid/ relief that are addressing the famine/drought and its immediate effects, but we are investing in livelihood and food security projects, which help build the resilience of communities against famine/ drought and climate shocks.
Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world, characterized by frequent natural disasters, such as droughts and famines.
Somalia is extremely fragile, ranking at the bottom of the Fund for Peace Index.
About 40 per cent of the population lives in extreme poverty; in rural areas more than half do.
Somalia receives an estimated US$2 billion per year in remittances from diaspora, exceeding official aid.
Since the 1980s, IFAD has invested a total of US$140 million in nine programmes and projects promoting agricultural development in Somalia, benefiting 1,780,000 direct beneficiaries.
Although the GoS is currently in arrears (USD 23.8 million), IFAD has been able to continue supporting the country through grants and resource mobilization. IFAD has scaled up the current portfolio of projects being implemented or designed to over USD 12 million. The current ongoing portfolio is about USD 9 million (IFAD plus co-financing) and a design of about USD 3.7 million. IFAD is aligning with international partners including AICS (Italian Agency for Development Cooperation) and OFID (OPEC Fund for International Development) in raising financing and developing the programme. With the projects under implementation and being designed, IFAD will cover all the sub-regions of Somalia.