1 June 2012
South Africa is ready to help Somalia move towards a prosperous and stable democracy, says International Relations and Cooperation Deputy Minister Marius Fransman.
Speaking in Turkey at the second Istanbul Conference on Somalia on Friday, Fransman said South Africa was committed to helping the Somali people through capacity and institution-building in the areas of social reconciliation, constitutional development, agriculture and food security, water catchment and drought resistance, as well as marine resource management.
In March, South Africa established formal diplomatic relations with Somalia, and committed R100-million to help the transitional Somali government build adequate institutions of governance.
Fransman urged the international community to remain engaged with the people of Somalia in rebuilding the troubled Horn of Africa country.
“Somalia, with the assistance of the international community, needs to evolve a developmental strategy that will be a result of engagement among all Somalis,” he told representatives from over 54 countries gathered at the meeting, a follow-up on a similar meeting held in February.
The deputy minister called on all Somalis to commit themselves to the implementation of the agreements and decisions reached so far in order to realise the objectives of the Somali Roadmap.
He said the Roadmap, a process that is Somali-owned, served as a necessary and firm foundation that was currently the only viable option for steering the horn of Africa country towards meaningful and lasting peace.
To achieve this, a coordinated approach among all key players was essential, Fransman said. Additionally, economic development was key to creating a stable environment that would get Somalis participating in the growth of their country.
Somalia has been plagued by internal strife for the past decade. Civil war, coupled with a hunger crisis, has rendered the country extremely vulnerable, and earned it a place among the top “failed states” in the world.