Press release

20 September 2012

Deputy Minister Fransman concludes successful South African-Somali Diaspora Workshop, calls for peace and reconstruction in Somalia

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), in partnership with the African Centre for the Constructive resolution of Disputes (ACCORD) and the Somali Council of Research and development (SOMCORD) co-hosted on 19-20 September 2012, in Cape Town, a workshop on Somalia themed, “South Africa-Somalia Knowledge Sharing on Peace and Reconstruction in Somalia”.

The workshop was convened days after Somalia held successful Presidential elections that saw Professor Sheikh Hassan Mohamoud elected as the new President of the Somali Federal Republic, in line with the Somali Peace Roadmap, thus bringing to a close the transition in the war ravaged country and ushering a new era for Somalia. 

The purpose of the workshop was to bring together the South African Government and the Somali Diaspora in South Africa, civil society, private sector as well as the Academia with the aim of sharing ideas and expertise on how best to contribute towards nation-building and reconstruction in Somalia in the post-transition period.

Deputy Minister Marius Fransman said the South African Government shared the sentiment expressed by other speakers at the workshop that the approach and attitude displayed by the new Somali President, in his expression of willingness to engage the Somali opposition and address lawlessness through dialogue and negotiation, is commendable. 

Deputy Minister Fransman reiterated South Africa's commitment and readiness to cooperate with the new Somali leadership in supporting national reconciliation through shared experiences and to render necessary support in post-transition institution and capacity building through the R100 million fund pledged by Minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane earlier this year.

Participants agreed that it was critical for Somalis not only based in Somalia, but also in the Diaspora, to unite in their effort to influence developments in Somalia positively.

Consequently, it was proposed that a forum will be created to support reconstruction and development in Somalia. Within the ambit of the forum, a think tank will be established to conduct research on the institution and capacity building needs of Somalia, and propose distinguishable methodology on how best South Africa can respond. 

The workshop concluded with the recommendation that it was essential to create room for the engagement of Somali and South African businesses, as well as the two governments on socio-economic issues. 

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation

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