The African Development Bank has reached an agreement which will allow Somalia to settle its arrears, a positive step as the country continues to battle its debts.
Somalia will clear its debts to the African Development Bank (AfDB) thanks to an agreement which paves the way for the lifting of sanctions and further economic progress.
A framework for paying USD 122.55 million was agreed by AfDB and the African Development Fund, on the condition that the country can secure financial support from donors to pay off the arrears. At that point, AfDB will return to offering its regular services and support to Somalia.
That support will include backing for reforms under the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, to which it was admitted earlier this month.
At the time of that decision, IMF managing director and acting chair Kristalina Georgieva said the decision “provides a clear recognition of Somalia’s sustained commitment to key economic and financial reforms under consecutive staff-monitored programs with the IMF. Helping Somalia achieve debt relief and unlock access to the needed resources to increase growth and reduce poverty is a key priority for the IMF”.
Discussing the AfDB arrears settlement plan, Somali Finance Minister Abdirahman Beileh said in a statement: “The African Development Bank has accompanied Somalia through the difficult reforms, which can only make Somalia a better place for all Somalis. We are committed to continuing our reforms as we have seen their benefits to our governance systems and capacity to manage our economy, and, more importantly, to improving government accountability to the people.”
Describing it as “a historic day”, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said “difficulties cannot be allowed to exist forever… because it defeats the very purpose of why we are here to serve”.
Adesina is up for re-election at the bank’s annual meetings in May, and this month received the backing of the African Union.
The IMF recently agreed to provide USD 115.1 million to the Central African Republic, for economic and fiscal reforms, while last year it and the AfDB supported the development of a macroeconomic and financial data sharing initiative in Guinea.
Somalia is believed to have around USD 5 billion in debt, to creditors including the United States. The country fared poorly on last year’s African Governance Report, by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, and Doing Business report, from the World Bank.