Somali Authorities Make Urban Resilience A Priority
Somalia’s economic potential is well-known: it has the longest coastline in mainland Africa, a thriving private sector, a young labor force and untapped natural wealth. Moreover, members of the Somali diaspora are returning to Somalia with much-needed capital for growth and development. But what will this potential amount to if urban areas are unable to deal with stresses and shocks related to drought, floods and insecurity? Urban resilience is the ability of communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow, regardless of the chronic stresses and acute shocks they may experience. How well does this description reflect Somali cities? That question became pressing in the first half of 2017, where Somalia faced its worst drought in decades. Over half the population an estimated 6.7 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance and recovery support. Over 680’000 people were displaced in the same time period, most of whom were displaced from rural to urban areas. The vulnerability of the urban poor escalated due to pressure from urbanization, the competition for scarce resources, and weak governance structures. Confronted by these challenges, Somali authorities responded with the support of the World Bank through the Somali Urban Investment Planning Project (SUIPP). Local governments have taken the lead in identifying select urban investments that can help improve urban resilience in their respective cities. The project assesses the feasibility and prepares preliminary designs for these prioritized selected urban investments and also helps prepare municipalities to oversee their construction by building procurement, financial management capacities. Administered by the World Bank through the Multi-Partner Fund (MPF), SUIPP increases the ability of local Somali authorities to prepare and implement urban development projects.