Mr Holmås is today taking part in the international Somalia Conference 2013 in London. The conference is co-hosted by President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
“The conference focuses primarily on security and political stability, both of which are absolutely essential if Somalia is to recover. Norway will also be a major contributor to humanitarian efforts and development assistance in the country. After two decades of civil war, the situation for the people of Somalia is extremely difficult. The country’s health situation is among the worst in the world, education programmes are very poor and 70 % of young people in the country are unemployed. Somalis in exile need to have a viable society they can return to,” said Mr Holmås.
A recent UN report revealed that famine and a lack of food security led to almost 260 000 people losing their lives in Somalia between October 2010 and April 2012, which is twice the number that were previously thought to have died.
“A shortage of food caused by conflicts, climate change, increased food prices and extreme poverty remains a huge problem in the country. Over 1.7 million people in Somalia are in need of humanitarian assistance, and over 215 000 children are acutely malnourished and risk dying of hunger. Norway is already making a major contribution to humanitarian efforts in Somalia. We are now substantially increasing our development assistance to the country with a view to making the people of Somalia better equipped to deal with crises, and achieving positive social development in line with the Somali Government’s priorities,” Mr Holmås said.
In 2012, Norway’s total assistance to Somalia and Somali refugees amounted to around NOK 360 million. In 2013, Norway’s development assistance and transitional funding to the country will be increased by around NOK 150 million, making total Norwegian assistance to Somalia over NOK 500 million.
Press contact: Communications Adviser Astrid Sehl, mobile phone + 47 92284752, E-mail