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|UN Releases First Socioeconomic Survey On Somaliland And Somalia|
NAIROBI, 14 Jan 2004 (IRIN) - The United Nations has launched a new socioeconomic survey for Somalia, the first since the civil war broke out in 1991. Launched on Wednesday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, it is the product of a joint initiative between the World Bank, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and several other UN agencies.
Speaking at the launch, Muktar Diop, the World Bank director in charge of Somalia, Kenya, and Eritrea, said reliable data had been missing in Somalia since the civil war broke out, destroying long-established government institutions. "We didn't have any data to start with," Diop said.
It was hoped that the survey, meant to be the first in a series of annual socioeconomic reports on Somalia, would help to initiate an "orderly intervention" there, Diop said. Currently, he noted, Somalia received only about US $100 million annually from the donor community. "This was not just an academic exercise. It is a project that will go a long way to help start the process of rebuilding Somalia," he said. "We want to be ready as a donor community to come back to Somalia in a forceful manner, once the peace process has been completed."
Elballa Hagona, the UNDP's country programme director for Somalia, said the survey was expected to open up new opportunities for the UN and other donors to identify new areas of humanitarian and development needs that had not yet been discovered. "This is important, because it gives us a picture of what Somalia looks like today," he said.
"It will also be important in providing indicators for more informed developmental interventions and initiatives on Somalia."
Somalia is considered one of the poorest countries in the world, a situation aggravated by the civil war and the absence of a functioning national government for over a decade. According to the survey - also referred to as the "Somalia Watching Brief 2003" - 43 percent of Somalis live in extreme poverty with an income of $1 a day or less.
The survey also suggests that regions in the north that enjoy relative peace have better income levels compared to southern regions, which are still conflict zones. [For more details see report:
Commenting on the survey, Nur Ahmad Weheliye, the director-general of the Somali Transitional Government's planning ministry, said the project was a "major achievement" that would place Somalia on the world map of statistical data. "This project marks an important step in terms of creating a database for Somali institutions, raising the living standards of the Somali people, and the overall development of our country."
Also present at the launch were representatives of the self-declared republic of Somaliland, the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland and the Somali Aid Coordinating Body and members of Somali civil society.