International Community has committed initial $16m to fight COVID-19 in Somalia-Amb. Yamamoto

The international community is committing an initial funding assistance of $16 milling to support Somalia’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the US ambassador to Somalia Donald Yamamoto has said.

Speaking during an online presser with journalists Thursday, ambassador Yamamoto said the funding which is coordinated with other international partners will go a long way in building Somalia’s ability to respond to the fast spreading disease.

Ambassador Yamamoto said the support will be two pronged notably, immediate support to fight COVID-19 and budgetary support for long term course.

“Over $16 is the initial funding assistance and its not only from the US; we want to coordinate with others,” said Yamamoto.

The support, the U.S diplomat said will cover prevention, curb the spread of COVID-19 and ‘safe as many lives as possible.’ For the long-term, ambassador said, the US is supporting Somalia’s debt relief process in coordination with international partners among them the World Bank and IMF.

Somalia, ambassador Yamamoto said was the third highest recipient of COVID-19 support from the US in Africa. 

The number of COVID-19 cases in Somalia has risen to 928 following the discovery of 55 new cases Thursday.

On the issue of remittance restrictions particularly from the U.S ambassador Yamamoto said there was need to build Somalia’s digital money transfers capacity noting wiring hard cash was not sustainable in the long term.

“What you need is a correspondence bank, you need a bank, an international bank that is gonna help you to transition your transfers,” said Yamamoto. 

“You can’t run an economy like Somalia on cash, you have to have digital, you have to have EFT, that is electronic funds transfers.”