Horn of Africa (Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya)

In the Horn of Africa, Switzerland focuses on governance, food security, health, and migration.  It supports projects with a regional approach in Somalia, south-eastern Ethiopia and north-eastern Kenya.

© FDFA

The Horn of Africa has been at the centre of global attention for several decades because of protracted armed conflict, severe food crises and large scale displacement.. .  Local conflicts over access to and share of natural resources are on the increase and the region has the world’s highest maternal and child mortality rates.  This difficult context forces people to migrate and leads to internally displaced persons and refugees. Other the other hand, the region shows positives changes: On the political front, significant progress has been achieved in Somalia since 2012, when a new government took office, creating a new outlook for the entire region.

The current Swiss cooperation strategy Horn of Africa builds on the results that have been achieved in the region and emphasises its commitment in fragile contexts.

Switzerland supports the provision of services and promotes the restoration of trust in state institutions. It also seeks to address the long-term causes of conflict and poverty  and thus promotes conflict transformation and regional integration. The dynamic of the conflicts in Somalia as well as conflicts over power and resources in the region take centre-stage. As part of these efforts, Switzerland has also established since July 2014 a joint partnership with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the only regional organisation in the Horn of Africa (based in Djibouti).

Governance, state- and peacebuilding

Promoting public services and peace dialogue

Together with the Somali authorities and multilateral partners, Switzerland is making a contribution to peace and the delivery of public services (water, health, markets, roads and education) at the local and district administration levels. This helps to restore citizens’ confidence in their local state institutions.  So far the programme has benefited over 800,000 people in Somaliland and 300,000 people in Puntland. Local development funds governed by communities are considered to be a model for fiscal decentralisation. Through political and diplomatic measures, Switzerland is also committed to federalism, state-building and mediation processes.

Advocacy and Good Governance

Food security

Strengthening communities living on arid lands

Arid lands are inhabited by people who live from farming and livestock breeding. They are regularly affected by drought and famine, which also affects their livestock.   Implemented by NGOs and the local private sector, a project combining humanitarian and development instruments is assisting 435,000 people in improving their access to water and grazing areas, and increasing their awareness and capacity in sustainable water and grazing land management.

Agriculture and food security

Health

Improvement of maternal and child health

Through projects and policy dialogue at national and regional levels, Switzerland is contributing to the rehabilitation of subnational and national health systems in Somalia. It also supports the provision of health services for pastoralist families, responding both to human and animal health needs. Twenty-one communities in Somaliland have already declared that they no longer practice female genital mutilation and support has been provided to community midwifery schools across the country.

Health

Migration

Better protection and perspectives for displaced persons and perspectives

A significant number of migrants transit the Horn of Africa every year. These vulnerable groups requiring particular protection include refugees, IDPs, asylum seekers, as well as people who have been trafficked and those looking for a better life for themselves and their families. Switzerland contributes to addressing specific protection needs for vulnerable migrants and their host communities through capacity building, awareness-raising, training government officials, improving infrastructure and emergency assistance. In order to give refugees a longer-term prospect, SDC supports vocational skills development activities and business development in the Kakuma refugee camp and in its surrounding host communities.

Migration

Approach and partners

Switzerland takes a holistic approach by combining humanitarian aid, development cooperation, political and diplomatic measures as well as migration and security instruments. It works using a number of modalities and with various partners:

  • Swiss NGOs and institutions: Vétérinaires Sans Frontières, Swisscontact, Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Swiss Kalmo
  • Ministries, provincial, district and local administrations, IGAD (regoinal and national instruments such as local development funds and the "New Deal" fund)
  • International and local NGOs and institutions: e.g. , Jijiga University, Refugee Consortium of Kenya, Médecins du Monde France, Save the Children
  • Local private sector
  • Donor countries: e.g. Germany (GiZ), Denmark (DANIDA), Norway and Sweden (SIDA) (delegated cooperation agreements in part)
  • ICRC, FAO, UNDP, UNHCR, WFP, OCHA, WHO(multilateral instruments)

Transversal themes

According to its gender policy, Switzerland takes gender-related issues into account and promotes equality between men and women in all its projects. It is also committed to an accountable system of public resources allocation. Conflict-sensitive tools and analyses supporting positive conflict transformation are applied.

History of cooperation

Switzerland’s long-term commitment

Switzerland has been providing assistance to the Greater Horn of Africa since the 1990s. Since 2013, the Horn of Africa is a priority region for SDC.  The current cooperation strategy (2018-2021) has a total budget of CHF 169 million (98% from SDC). The  Swiss embassies in Kenya and Ethiopia coordinate the actors of the Swiss Government responsible for the implementation of the strategy. The Embassy in Ethiopia acts as the main interlocutor with IGAD.