USAID Administrator Mark Green's Remarks at the Ribbon-Cutting and Opening of the USAID Mission in Somalia

Press Release Shim

Speeches Shim


For Immediate Release

Monday, June 17, 2019

June 17, 2019
Mogadishu, Somalia

AMBASSADOR YAMAMOTO: It's a distinct honor to introduce to you the Administrator for USAID and a close friend of the United States and of Somalia, Mark Green, former congressman, ambassador, and now administrator. Thank you very much, Mr. Green.

ADMINISTRATOR GREEN: Thank you. Thanks, Ambassador. Good morning, everyone. It's an honor to be here. Thank you for joining us to commemorate the formal opening of the USAID Mission right here in Somalia. Before I begin, I want to acknowledge the cooperation and support of the federal government of Somalia, the officials who are here today who helped make all of this possible. Since the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Somalia, USAID has worked closely with the government to strengthen key institutions and support the aspirations of the Somali people. Already, we have accomplished many things together, and I look forward to seeing what we can achieve in the years ahead.

I would also like to thank my good friend, Ambassador Yamamoto, for his leadership, particularly during the transition of the U.S. Mission from Nairobi to Mogadishu. Your steadfast support has been critical to our success.

Now, there's no doubt that Somalia faces a number of important challenges. It is at a critical juncture in the ongoing transition in security forces, its preparation for historic elections, and its efforts to secure debt relief. The government needs to maintain positive momentum and to preserve hard-won development gains.

The government and people of Somalia have made great strides over the last several years. Reform efforts, based on a sincere commitment to peace, citizen-responsive governance, and the expansion of economic opportunity have built a sense of optimism here and across the country that a brighter day does in fact lie ahead. I applaud this progress, and I am very proud of the contributions that USAID has made to support these efforts.

But, we all realize that Somalia continues to face challenges. There's the ongoing transition from African Union troops to Somali security forces. The success of that transition is a key test of the government's ability to uphold peace and provide the most basic of services to the Somali people.

Somalia's young democracy also requires further nurturing. The upcoming elections are a historic opportunity for trying the principles of democratic representation, free and fair elections, and the peaceful transfer of power, turning that into practice. There's also the prospect of debt relief, a vital goal to strive for, but one that requires the government to continue difficult economic reforms and to stamp out corruption.

The new USAID Mission, led by Mission Director Jeffrey Bakken, will work closely with the people and government to tackle these and other challenges. We want to help advance peace and stability, strengthen governing institutions, and help create the conditions for economic investment and growth.

The road ahead won't be easy, but the government and people of Somalia have shown a dedication to pursue this course. They are resilient, and they are involved, and that's why we're here today. Establishing a USAID Mission in Mogadishu is an important milestone in deepening the U.S.-Somalia development partnership. It's a move made possible by the government's sincere commitment to meaningful reform and re-engagement with the international community.

At USAID, we believe the purpose of our assistance must be ending its need to exist. We also believe in the innate desire of every person, every community, and every country to want to shape their own bright future. When we find leaders who are willing to take on the tough choices and reforms that are really necessary to pursue self-reliance, why then we hope to walk with them along the way.

We're here because the people of Somalia and their current leaders have shown their commitment to pursuing a more citizen-centered, more resilient, more self-reliant future. By establishing this Mission, we are deepening our own commitment to Somalia's bright future. Today, together, we take another step forward. We're very proud to stand together and work with all of you towards a more stable, democratic, and prosperous future. Thank you.

And with that, I'd like to deliver this plaque to Ambassador Yamamoto and formally establish the USAID Mission in Somalia.