Press release

Britain’s top diplomats visited Somalia on 28th April

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Head of Diplomatic Service and Permanent Secretary at Department for International Development meet President and Prime Minister of Somalia.

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On 28th April the UK’s top diplomatic and international development officials, Sir Simon Fraser and Mark Lowcock, visited Somalia in their first joint visit to the country. Sir Simon is Permanent Under Secretary of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Head of Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service. Mark Lowcock is Permanent Secretary at the UK’s Department for International Development.

During the visit, they visited Mogadishu and Kismayo. In Mogadishu they had meetings with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed and also spent the night at the UK’s Embassy in Mogadishu. In Kismayo they had meetings with Leader Madobe and Deputy Leader Fartag.

Sir Simon Fraser said:

I was delighted to visit Somalia at this important time. The Federal Government of Somalia has much to be proud of, including recent successes, alongside AMISOM, in the fight against Al-Shabaab. It was extremely interesting to discuss the future of Somalia with the President, Prime Minister, leaders in Kismayo and representatives from the business community and diaspora.

I was encouraged to hear their enthusiasm and reiterated the UK’s role as a strong supporter of a stable, prosperous Somalia. I was also very pleased to be able to see firsthand the excellent work that UK Government staff are carrying out, in one of the most challenging environments in which we operate.

Mark Lowcock said:

Britain has strong links with Somalia and it is right that we help Somalia to plan a safer and more prosperous future. Somalia’s Federal Government has an ambitious plan in place. Agreed at the New Deal for Somalia conference last year, the roadmap for reconstruction will ensure Somalia gets the support and advice it needs to recover from decades of conflict. Normalising Somalia’s relations with the IMF and World Bank is a key part of that, and the UK will continue to provide support in this area.

The discussions I have had with business leaders have been fascinating and demonstrated the challenges as well as the opportunities of doing business in Somalia. I was glad to see the progress made so far in Kismayo and the importance of UK stabilisation efforts. It is vital we help Somalia’s Government to continue its fight against poverty instability, terrorism and international piracy.

The UK’s Department for International Development works closely with Somalia to tackle the root causes of poverty, hunger, disease and terrorism. Its programme focuses on governance and peace-building, creating jobs, improving health care and providing humanitarian assistance.

Further information

By 2015, Britain’s aid programme will help:

  • secure new private sector jobs and training for 45,000 people, including 15,000 women;

  • 700,000 people benefit from agricultural or livelihood assistance to grow their own crops; and

  • 61,000 young children to avoid acute malnutrition.

Read more on the UK’s development programme in Somalia

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Published 2 May 2014