“Only Copenhagen has the authority to advice Danish citizens and my participation in this interview, in Hargeisa, means we are neither bothered nor affected by the recent UK travel advisory” -Zorem Rasmussen,
By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The Danish government is an active player in promoting improved livelihoods through the Somaliland Business Fund-SBF which is beneficiary to $8 million contributed by the Danish government.
This was revealed by Mr. Zorem Rasmussen, head of the Danish International Development Agency-DANIDA Somaliland during an interview with reporter Mahmud Walaleye of Hornnewspaper in Hargeisa where he also informed that the UK Travel ban for Somaliland has not affected their operations.
Said he “Only Copenhagen has the authority to advice Danish citizens and my participation in this interview, in Hargeisa, means we are neither bothered nor affected by the recent UK travel advisory”
According to Mr. Rasmussen DANIDA which opened its Hargeisa program office last August, has already allocated $8million to SBF, an amount to be increased gradually over the coming years.
“The allocation of this fund is geared towards fulfilling Denmark’s intentions for promoting local economic growth and creation of employment opportunities.
In response to the when of grants disbursement for the Somaliland business fund that DANIDA is co-funding with the World Bank, Mr. Rasmussen said, “the first phase mostly for small grants applicants shall start next month (March), while phase two applicants screening would be commenced in May, this year.
Apart from promotion of economic growth DANIDA, which comes under the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also engaged in the development of several other sectors among them; Security, Anti-piracy, Governance, and livelihoods throughout Somaliland and Somalia, with over $80million allocated for these activities during a four year plan ending in 2015.
DANIDA, who have above forty partners in Somaliland composing government ministers, local as well as international organization, also supports local council projects called JPLG, Gender, and Democratization process, needed to envision engagement his office doing Somaliland.
On his perception of the local environment for both donors, expatriates and investors, the DANIDA program manager said a conducive environment exists where all stakeholders have a single target, “that is attainment of local development while pursuing the quest for international recognition.
He praised the over 40 local partners that DANIDA is working in diverse sectors among them Government ministries and Civil Society Organizations for their relentless efforts in achieving set objectives.
On Denmark’s participation in the internationally fronted dialogue between Somaliland and Somalia, Mr. Rasmussen said, “Although we are not currently involved at any level, the government in Copenhagen is closely following proceedings and will not hesitate to provide assistance if deemed necessary or upon request”
In Conclusion the top Danish representative in Somaliland thanked the Geeska Afrika media Group and reporter Mohamud Walaleye, for being the first to ever interview him since arrival in the country.
He promised to ensure that the media group is first to receive support from DANIDA if and when it initiates, in Somaliland, a media capacity building program the Agency currently implements in over 20 countries worldwide