A new, multi-purpose building for use by the Interim South West Administration’s (ISWA) ministry of planning and international cooperation has been inaugurated in Baidoa.
The facility, which comprises a conference center and administrative offices, will also be used as a major hub for activities related to the 2016 electoral process. Voting seats in the lower and upper houses of the country’s next federal parliament will take place in Baidoa, in addition to Mogadishu, Kismaayo, Cadaado and Garowe.
The facility was built at a cost of $203,819 with funding from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and international donors. Sweden, Italy, the United Kingdom, Norway and Denmark also provided funding support.
“The multi-purpose conference hall will be open to the public for various activities including meetings and trainings, and for the upcoming electoral process,” said Nasir Abdi Arush, ISWA Minister of Planning and International Cooperation.
UNDP Deputy Country Director and Head of Programs for Somalia David Akopyan said the facility would enhance efficiency in service delivery.
“The intention is also to help other government entities. We have programs with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Interior to improve local governance, justice, security and above all bring economic development to the people of South West,” Mr. Akopyan stated.
The Swedish Ambassador to Somalia Mikael Lindvall presided over the inauguration of the building with the ISWA Minister of Finance, Hassan Ibrahim (Lugbuur)
“It is also a very good chance for me to be able to hear about the progress in South West in trying to build its institutions and the upcoming electoral process. We are following very closely, as the international community, the progress in trying to prepare for the elections,” Ambassador Lindvall said.
Construction of the facility commenced in early March 2016 and was completed on schedule ahead of voting in the electoral process, which is now expected to commence on 23 October.
Others present at the event included Vikram Parekh, the head of the UNSOM office in Baidoa, the Speaker of Parliament of South West State Abdulkadir Sharif Shekuna, and the Governor of Bay Region Rashid Abdullahi.