Somalia is still recovering from more than two decades of armed conflict, during which most government structures and institutions were destroyed or severely damaged. The Netherlands’ support to Somalia focuses mainly on state building, in particular on the Rule of Law. In support of the Government of Somalia, the Netherlands development programme aims to enhance legitimate governance, to make people feel safer and more protected by government structures and to increase people’s equal access to justice. Women and vulnerable groups are seen as the most important target group. As humanitarian needs remain high due to conflict and climate hazards, the Netherlands continues to provide humanitarian aid to vulnerable communities. Other focus areas in Somalia include (maritime) security, countering and preventing violent extremism and, on a smaller scale, private sector development with the aim of contributing to youth employment and promoting durable solutions for people on the move in Somalia.
The Dutch programme for Somalia is based on the theory that the main cause of fragility and conflict in Somalia is a broken social contract between citizens and the state. The programme portfolio aims to restore and enhance this trust. Activities are designed and implemented through engagement with citizens as well as with government institutions at local, regional and state level.
Over the reporting period, the security situation worsened slightly in Somalia. Limited progress was made on recovering areas controlled by Al Shabaab and inter-state conflict worsened. On a more positive note, socio-economic conditions, international engagement and the humanitarian situation remained the same or showed slight improvement, with the exception of relations with the Gulf States, which continued to deteriorate. In 2018, Somalia’s overall stability rating, as scored by the FSI, was 113.2, ranking second-worst behind South Sudan out of 178 UN member states. Somalia’s rating increased by 0.2 compared to 2017. While this increase may seem negligible, it is worth noting that it represents nearly a third of the 0.7-point drop Somalia recorded over the course of the previous five years.