Livestock is the mainstay of the Somali economy and about 70% of the population in Somalia is dependent on livestock for their livelihoods. It provides food, employment and incomes and contributes 40% of the GDP and 80% of the foreign currency earnings excluding cash remittances from Somalis in the diaspora. The export of live animals, hides, skins and chilled carcasses generates the foreign currencies for importation of food items and thus contributes significantly to ensuring food security in Somalia as the country depends on commercial food imports and food relief programmes for more than half of its cereal requirements to feed its population. Livestock marketing and trade also generate revenues for local administrations, through taxation of livestock destined for trade. However, the livestock export trade is constrained by the chronic and persistent shocks afflicting Somalia including political instability, conflict, civilian displacement, cyclic droughts, floods and outbreaks of transboundary animal diseases within Somalia and in the neighbouring countries.
This project aims to improve the quality, access and sustainability of animal health services in Somalia in order to better assist livestock dependent communities to safeguard their most productive assets against animal diseases and to assure continuity of the vital livestock export trade. Safeguarding livestock health and sustained household incomes from the sale of livestock are key ingredients for enhancing the resilience of these communities in coping with crises. The Somali line Ministries responsible for Livestock development and the Livestock Professional Associations do not have sufficient capacity to respond to these challenges in a timely and effective manner and require technical, financial and logistical support to enhance their capabilities in this regard. In particular, the Ministry of Livestock, Forestry and Range of the Federal Government of Somalia needs support to establish institutional structures both at the Headquarters level and in the regions and to develop strategies, policies and legislative frameworks to guide its operations. The line Ministries in Puntland and Somaliland have established structures, policy and legislative frameworks that need to be strengthened to make them more appropriate to the current needs of the livestock sector. All the Ministries are currently under re-sourced and require financial support and training of their personnel to enable them to fulfil their mandates.
The privately organised Livestock Professional Associations work closely with the line Ministries in their respective areas of operation but they lack capacity for effective outreach to the communities they serve. The communities also need awareness and empowerment to identify and articulate their needs for quality services from the public and private animal health service providers. This project is contributing to the improved linkages and interactions between the different livestock value chain actors and the public and private service providers in order to enhance the quality, access and sustainability of animal health services in the country. This will have positive effects on household incomes, livelihoods and enhance the resilience of the target groups.
The project is consistent with the AU-IBAR Strategic Plan for 2014 -2017 as it supports one of AU-IBAR’s core functions of providing timely and strategic support to countries experiencing emergencies and those with special needs. The strengthening of animal health services delivery systems in Somalia contributes to AU-IBAR’s strategic programme on animal health, disease prevention and control systems that aims to strengthen animal health, disease prevention and control systems for improved veterinary governance and effective management of animal diseases in Africa. The project also contributes to Strategic Objective 2 of the recently developed Livestock Development Strategy for Africa (LiDeSA) that aims to enhance animal health and increase production, productivity and resilience of livestock production systems. The AU-IBAR Strategic Plan and LiDeSA are both aligned to the CAADP Results Framework.
The project is also aligned to the Somali Compact (New deal) that provides an overarching strategic framework for coordinating political, security and development efforts in the Federal Republic of Somalia with special arrangements for Somaliland, for peace and state building activities for the period 2014-2016. The project contributes to Peace and State building Goal 4 (PSG4): Economic Foundations. The PSG 4 Strategic Objective is to revitalize and expand the Somali economy with a focus on livelihood enhancement, employment generation, and broad-based inclusive growth.