Building local capacity

Focusing opportunities for development assistance under challenging circumstances

At the end of the warlord era in Somalia, I was asked by the UN World Food Programme to make front line assessments of the surviving capabilities of ports in Mogadishu, El Maan and Kismayo, and by the Somali regional government in Galmudug to do a similar assessment of the central Somalia beach port at Hobyo.

These projects involved front line surveys followed by outreach programmes to engage with local stakeholders and to understand their interests, and then to package these findings into actionable reports which the clients could use to solicit funds for fast infrastructure upgrades to support local food security initiatives and employment.

Significant investment in Mogadishu and Kismayo ports followed directly from these projects. However, since the central Somali coast was under the control of pirates at the time of my visit, it has taken longer for the opportunities I identified at Hobyo to be acted on, but I can report that these are now underway.