Kuwait Monday pledged at an international conference in Brussels on Somalia to continue its help and support to promote economic development and combat poverty in the African country.
"We eagerly look forward to further cooperation with the Government of Somalia and take this opportunity to re-affirm our commitment to assist Somalia in its efforts aimed at re-construction and economic development," Abdullah Sulaiman Al-Saqer, assistant regional manager for Arab countries at the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, told the conference titled 'A new deal for Somalia.' "This meeting comes at an important juncture as Somalia progresses towards peace and stability which must be underpinned by efforts to promote economic development and combat poverty which usually lies at the root of civil strife and conflict," he tod the one-day event which ended this evening.
Al-Saqer noted that the cooperation of The Kuwait Fund with Somalia dates back nearly 40 years, before the eruption of conflict in the country.
He explained that The Kuwait Fund provided concessional financing for certain priority projects in the energy and agricultural sectors and also provided technical assistance grants for the study and preparation of certain projects.
"The lack of stability and conflict in Somalia during the recent years have impeded further development assistance by the Fund to the country, however, of late, the Government of the State of Kuwait has approved certain grants to the Federal Republic of Somalia and to Somali Land," he said.
These grants, which are being administered by The Kuwait Fund, include a grant in 2010 of USD 10 million to Somali Land for meeting urgent needs of Hergeisa and Berbara Airports, a grant of USD 10 million, approved in February 2012, to assist in financing certain projects in Puntland Province and a grant of USD three million to assist in promoting food security.
Later, speaking to the Kuwait news agency, KUNA, Al Saqer said Kuwait has in total provided about USD 100 million in loans to Somalia but due to the strife and conflict in the country the loans could not continue.
"Kuwait has played, is playing and will continue to play in future an important role in the reconstruction and development of Somalia," he stressed to KUNA.
The Brussels conference was organised by the EU and the Somali government with the participation of 50 countries and organisations