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Somalia to Get First Direct World Bank Grants in Decades

Somalia’s finance minister says World Bank grants to the government are a sign the country has “trustable leadership” again after decades of chaos and corruption.

The World Bank said Tuesday it will provide $80 million in grants to Somalia’s federal government, the bank’s first direct grants to a Somali central authority in 27 years.

In an interview with VOA’s Somali service, Finance Minister Abdirahman Duale Beileh said the grants are “proof of Somalia’s merit.”

Beileh said $60 million will be used to increase the capacity of Somalia’s financial institutions, and $20 million will go toward education and energy projects to build the country’s resilience.

He said the grants show that international financial agencies have faith the government is capable of fighting against corruption.

“The work we have done and the trustworthiness we have earned brought us here,” he said. 

The World Bank cut ties with Somalia in 1991, following the collapse of the Mohamed Siad Barre government and the start of a long civil war.

Beileh said that in recent years, Somalia’s government has made tangible improvement in management of the economy and its institutions.

However, the latest global index of Transparency International put Somalia as the world’s most corrupt country.

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohammed, also known as Farmajo, took power last year in an election by parliament that observers said was characterized by bribes and vote-buying.

Beileh acknowledged the government’s fight against corruption is “far from over.”

“There is a perception that Somalia cannot be trusted because of its corruption history. Most of that is not perception,” he said.

He added: “We are proud that we made progress to at least a transparent level that both the World Bank and the IMF can notice.”

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