Denmark opens Somaliland program office to support development efforts
COPENHAGEN — Denmark will open a bilateral program office in the breakaway Somaliland region of northern Somalia, the Foreign Ministry said here Friday.
The program is the first of its kind by a Western country in Somaliland, the foreign ministry added, in an official statement.
“The positive development we see there is fragile, and that is why the international community must support these developments right now,” Danish Development Minister Christian Friis Bach said in the statement.
Permanently staffed by two advisers in Hargeisa, the Somaliland capital, the Somaliland program office will focus on “security, health, and education efforts in cooperation with Somaliland’s elected local government,” Bach said
Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991, following a military coup there, and is not internationally recognized as an independent country.
It has made modest steps towards establishing rule of law, democratic governance, and a functioning economy in recent years, but large parts of its population live in poverty.
Somalia itself has been without a functional government since 1992, and is host to a number of terror groups, as well as pirates who target international shipping in regional waters.
Bach visited Somalia this week, where he announced a doubling of Danish development aid to the country, from 100 million Danish kroner (17.7 million U.S. dollars), to 200 million kroner (35.4 million dollars) per year, for the next three years.
He said a stable Somaliland could become a role model of progress for Somalia and the entire Horn of Africa, which, if stabilized, would curb piracy, terrorism, and flow of refugees.
Friday, Feb 10, 2012