Sending Office: Honorable Keith Ellison
PROVIDE ECONOMIC SUPPORT TO SOMALIA
* This is a programmatic and a language appropriations request *
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The deadline to sign is 2pm Thursday, March 15th
Please join us in supporting Economic Support and Development Funds (ESDF) to Somalia by signing the letter below addressed to the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs.
We are requesting $79.4 million in ESDF to support the formation of legitimate, durable institutions that will enhance peace and stability in Somalia. Somalia is working to repair the negative effects of two decades of state collapse, widespread violence, and
lawlessness. For humanitarian and national security reasons, we must be willing to provide meaningful assistance in order to secure and build upon gains achieved over the last several years.
The U.S. continues to work closely with Somali leaders to destroy Al-Shabaab. But military successes risk being undone if we fail to adequately invest in Somalia’s political and economic development. While Somalia saw its first peaceful transition of presidential
power in February 2017, the political and economic development of the country remains fragile. The Administration acknowledged this reality by requesting increased funds to maintain an expanded, enduring diplomatic presence in Mogadishu in order to keep pace
with Somalia’s transformation.
We also request that the Committee direct the Secretary of State to submit a report to the congressional foreign affairs committees containing an assessment and analysis of all government and non-government assistance being provided to the Somali Government
and its people. This will increase transparency on the efficacy of our aid in Somalia and help us choose how to further our priorities in Somalia in the future.
We thus urge you to join us in our request that the Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs prioritize assistance to Somalia. Please contact Brieana Marticorena with Rep. Ellison at
Brieana.firstname.lastname@example.org or Tyler Jensen with Rep. Smith at
Tyler.Jensen@mail.house.gov if you would like to sign the letter. The deadline to sign is 2pm Thursday, March 15, 2018.
Keith Ellison Adam Smith
Member of Congress Member of Congress
Dear Chair Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey:
We write to request $79.4 million in Economic Support and Development Funds (ESDF) to support the formation of legitimate, durable institutions that will enhance peace and stability in Somalia. This request mirrors the President’s request for the FY2017
budget. The situation in Somalia remains fragile, and we must provide meaningful assistance in order to secure and build upon gains achieved over the last several years. We thus urge you to prioritize assistance to Somalia.
Somalia is transforming, but the fragile gains must be reinforced by programming to that reinforces and builds state capacity and legitimacy. This will be a long-term project, and we’ve already seen significant successes. Early last year, Somalia saw a peaceful
transition of presidential power. Significant gains have also been made against Al-Shabaab with the help of U.S. and international contributions to the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). We must build upon these successes by supporting programs that will complement
U.S. counterterrorism and security sector efforts, like programs that grow economic and employment opportunities, particularly for Somali youth. Programs should also extend the delivery of basic services to more communities throughout Somalia.
The need to invest in strong institutions and capacity building in Somalia has been made clear by the situation surrounding remittance flows to Somalia from countries like the U.S., United Kingdom, and Australia. In 2016, remittance flows to Somalia were
estimated at US $1.4 billion – larger than the total amount of official development assistance it received. Yet in 2015, nearly all financial institutions handling money transfers from the U.S. to Somalia closed the accounts of all Somali-American Money Transfer
Operators (MTO). Without banking services, many of these MTOs were forced to curtail their operations, leaving the Somali diaspora in the U.S. without a secure means to send funds to loved ones back home. Domestic U.S. regulations are only partially responsible
for this situation; Somalia also lacks a fully functional central bank and the robust regulatory institutions necessary to participate in the world banking system. Although progress remains slow, the failure to adequately invest in Somalia’s political and
economic development risks undermining the fragile gains made and losing hundreds of millions of dollars of U.S. investment to date.
For national security and humanitarian reasons, these investments cannot wait. We were by the Administration’s request increased funds to maintain an expanded, enduring diplomatic presence in Mogadishu, and their acknowledgment that the Department of State
needs an expanded diplomatic presence to keep pace with Somalia’s transformation. As stated in Appendix 1 of the State Department’s budget justification, “the window for the development of a functional, legitimate government [in Somalia] will not remain open
forever.” We believe that robust ESDF funds are also necessary to keep pace with Somalia’s transformation.
Furthermore, as you consider FY2019 appropriations, we request that you consider a request to increase transparency on the efficacy of our aid in Somalia. Thus, we request that you include language in the appropriations directing the Secretary of State to
submit a report to the congressional foreign affairs committees containing an assessment and analysis of all government and non-government assistance being provided to the Somali Government and its people. Information provided in the report will help further
our priorities, to include: improving the security situation in Somalia; combatting the rise of extremist groups; strengthening governance and civil society; building people-to-people ties between the people of Somalia and the United States; and better coordinating
international assistance from all stakeholders.
Thank you for considering providing Somalia with critical ESDF funding in Fiscal Year 2019, as well as the information policy makers need to assess the security, humanitarian and governance needs of Somalia. We appreciate the challenges your subcommittee
faces and look forward to working with you to craft a FY2019 State Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that gives fragile countries like Somalia the tools they need to build stable, democratic governing institutions.
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