World Bank retores relations with Somalia

The World Bank said it will have new aid programs for Somalia in coming months now that relations have been restored (AFP Photo/LUIS TATO)

Washington (AFP) - The World Bank moved Thursday to reestablish relations with Somalia after a 30-year break, paving the way for the country to have access to low-cost development aid.

Contact was severed in 1991 as the country descended into conflict, but recently it has made efforts to rebuild, even as it faces violence from the Al-Shabaab jihadist group.

"Somalia has made important reforms and has demonstrated strong commitment to staying the course," said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank vice president for Africa.

"These reforms lay the foundation for sustained poverty reduction and better lives for the Somali people, and open the door to private sector investment that can create jobs and drive the economy forward," he said in a statement.

This month the African nation has won initial approval from World Bank and IMF to get hundreds of millions in debt relief.

New financing proposals that should be ready in the coming months aim to provide rapid response to households impacted by recent droughts and flooding.

The proposals also aim to reduce poverty by delivering social protection to over 200,000 women with children under 5, it said.

Somalia Finance Minister Abdirahman Beileh said the approval "is a recognition of the ambitious reforms to which this government remains committed, to bring transparency and accountability into Somali institutions and to revive the economy."

Almost 70 percent of Somalis live on less than $1.90 a day.