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Crafting national development plan for long-term stability

Key objectives of the National Development Plan include; articulating national development priorities; setting out a clear vision for Somalia’s security, social and economic development priorities as well as defining the key state building and peace building priorities of the nation as clearly as possible.

Dalmar Hassan Kanyare

The new deal for Somalia is slated to end on August 2016, after three years some steps have been taken towards building the capacity of the Federal and state gov­ernments of Somalia to deliver services to the populace of a post conflict nation, traumatized by 25 years of war of all against all, that is still faced by an insurgency that while winding down, is active through much of the country.

Having made the obligatory nod towards the achievements of the new deal, it is obvious to anyone, however peripherally involved in the process that the new deal is winding down in an environment of deep disappointment amongst the citizens of Somalia in this process that promised so much and delivered in many instances so little.

Inevitably many Somalis have woken up to the re­ality that only a home grown National Development Plan, consultative in nature that takes into account the new federal dispensation of the country, focusing on addressing and solving the long term structural needs of a society and economy with the potential and resources to be a driving force in the East African region, Is the only solution to moving on from the cri­sis driven “humanitarian aid complex” stranglehold of the economy, and the learned helplessness of a pop­ulation that is more than 70% youth, so despondent of a life in their motherland, that a more than better chance of drowning in the Mediterranean is to them, still, a better odds than a life of dignity and with their skills fully utilized at home.

The purpose of the National Development Plan is to provide guidance to the national authorities, in­ternational development partners and other stake­holders (private sector, civil societies and citizens at large) in Somalia in shaping a medium term strategic framework to build upon achievements of the past few years, further strengthening the (emerging) state structures, and creating a favorable environment for private and non-government sector development, and –most importantly – bring the benefits of the de­velopment efforts to the citizens of the nation.

The National Development Plan has three key in­terrelated objectives, articulating national develop­ment priorities, setting out a clear vision for Somalia’s security, social and economic development priorities as well as defining the key state building and peace building priorities of the nation as clearly as possible.

The plan will further clarify the overall political vision (Vision 2016, Somali Six Pillars, constitu­tional processes). The underlying strategy is clear: well-functioning and efficient state structures are the pre-condition to drive forward the peace process and stabilize the country’s security.

Internationally, there are no examples of lasting peace, stability and positive development in the ab­sence of well-functioning home grown state struc­tures that provide a peaceful forum for political debate, guide the investments in the development arena, and provide tangible services to the citizens, in line with the expectations of the citizens.

It will also provide a structure for resource alloca­tion and management aligning budget allocations gradually towards NDP priorities, the plan will provide an accurate macro-fiscal framework (annual budget planning process, dialogue with IFIs, Aid Flows map­ping), providing up-to-date national poverty data and will incorporate existing sector strategies and policy documents as appropriate.

It will guide and provide the sole framework for De­velopment Partner support within the defined Federl Government of Somalia priorities in the coming three years: in terms of structuring well defined funding pri­orities, whilst ensuring FGS leadership of the devel­opment agenda and engagement with development trust funds set up in Somalia’s name over the past few years

For the plan to both have the full political and mor­al support of the political elite of our nation several management and coordination decisions were made, the NDP process was approved by the FGS cabinet with frequent updates made to the council of min­isters as the NDP is drafted, ongoing Sensitization on National Development Planning is a continuous part of Ministerial activities at national level through monthly Director Generals level meetings.

High level consultations have been undertaken at State Planning Ministry and State Presidential level with support for the process affirmed by an M.O.U signed between Federal and State ministries.

The National Development Council (NDC) has been established as a high level advisory forum to guide and inform the NDP process with representation from State governments as well as civil society, private sector and academia at its inaugural meeting held in May 2015. All of these actions were in preparation for the mammoth logistical task of holding seven [7] three [3] day consultations across the regional state capitals of Somalia, successfully concluding the first phase of nationwide consultations on the NDP.

The process involved interaction with over one thousand citizens of Somalia representing state civil services, civil society, academia, the business commu­nity and members of academia and intelligentsia.

In-depth guided discussions were held where the experiences, opinions and priorities of the citizens of this recovering nation were sought to inform the de­velopment of national sectorial objectives, strategies and plans.

Across the nation themes emerged of a population seeking guidance and leadership in building a cohe­sive nation, that promotes the economic wellbeing of the individual, by investing in the untapped agri­cultural and human resources of our nation, while providing equality of access to basic social services and economic opportunities. Again and again across the nation citizens repeated the mantra of tangible development, energy that is affordable, schools that address the needs of a rebuilding country both social­ly and mentally, rebuilding infrastructure that allows access to markets for produce, and unhindered move­ment across the length and breadth of our nation.

While the New Deal for Somalia might have suf­fered from well documented shortcomings it has al­lowed a space for dialogue and interaction to develop within Somalis that recognizes the issues affecting us are the same across the country, while building the capacity of local and diaspora Somalis to articulate the programmatic needs that are required for genuine national development to occur within the particular realities that the Somali people face, a process that the National Development Plan benefited from with a group of knowledgeable Somalis leading and guiding the process.

Inevitably in a highly politicized governing situation where low levels of education, a fragmented elite, an information environment that conflates conspira­cy theories with journalism, and a country still in the middle of developing a long lasting political dispen­sation, claims to long term “national vision” might be disconcerting to many Somalis, addressing these issues has been one of the most important part of the national consultation process, making clear that the commitment and success of the NDP is the responsi­bility of every single Somali.

After a brutal conflagration of more than 20 years, the scars on the Somali psyche and nationhood are deep but beginning to heal, the process of drafting and implementing the NDP is contributing a small way towards a united, resolute nation, that has built a economic climate for Somalis that supports their renowned entrepreneurial spirit to flourish, in an envi­ronment where justice, democracy and equal access to improving social services is assured.

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