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Somalia Secures Landmark Debt Relief: A Path Towards A Brighter Future

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Somalia PM Hamza Abdi Barre

CEM REPORT, FINANCE | Somalia, a nation scarred by decades of civil war, has taken a monumental step towards economic recovery. In a recent agreement with the Paris Club, a group of creditor nations, Somalia secured debt relief amounting to a staggering $2 billion.

This translates to a cancellation of 99% of the country’s debt owed to the Paris Club, marking a significant turning point for Somalia’s financial future.

Somalia’s Debt Background

Prior to this agreement, Somalia struggled under the weight of a crippling debt burden. This debt, accumulated over years of conflict and instability, severely hampered the country’s ability to invest in essential areas like healthcare, education, and infrastructure.


“For about 30 years, Somalia was exiled from the international financial system,” the statement from the Paris Club highlights. This isolation hindered economic growth and perpetuated poverty.

The HIPC Initiative: A Lifeline for Struggling Nations

Somalia’s journey to debt relief began with its participation in the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative launched in 1996. This program, spearheaded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, aims to provide debt relief to developing countries struggling under unsustainable debt burdens.

After years of implementing economic reforms and adhering to strict fiscal discipline, Somalia finally reached the program’s “Completion Point” in December 2023, paving the way for this significant debt cancellation.

This is a historic moment for Somalia,” declared President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. “For decades, our country has been crippled by debt, hindering our ability to invest in essential services and infrastructure. This relief will free up much-needed resources to tackle poverty, improve education and healthcare, and build a brighter future for all Somalis.”

Somalia’s Debt Relief Breakdown

Under the terms of the agreement, the Paris Club will forgive $1.2 billion of Somalia’s nominal debt. Additionally, member nations have expressed their willingness to consider further debt cancellation on a bilateral basis, potentially reaching $815 million. This combined effort would result in a total debt reduction exceeding $2 billion, offering Somalia a much-needed financial lifeline.

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However, the agreement also emphasizes Somalia’s commitment to pursuing crucial economic reforms. The Paris Club welcomes Somalia’s dedication to “poverty eradication, education and health reforms” – areas critical for sustainable economic growth.

It is worth noting that the $2 billion debt cancellation for Somalia represents over 50% of the country’s public external debt of $3.8 billion. The reorganisation of Somalia’s debt was facilitated by representatives from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, the Russian Federation, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America with the European Commission, AfDB, and OECD as observers.

Looking Forward: Building a Brighter Future

The debt relief agreement with the Paris Club is a significant victory for Somalia. It signifies the international community’s recognition of the country’s efforts towards economic stability. With a lighter debt burden, Somalia can now focus its resources on rebuilding its infrastructure, fostering economic growth, and improving the lives of its citizens.

The road ahead for Somalia remains challenging. Continued commitment to economic reforms, coupled with international support, will be crucial for the country to fully capitalize on this opportunity and build a brighter future for its people.

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