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- Bilateral relations
- Trade relations
- Development and humanitarian assistance
- Partnerships and organizations
Canada first established diplomatic relations with Somalia in 1968. These relations were subsequently suspended after the collapse of the Somali government in 1991. Following the establishment of the Federal Government of Somalia in 2012, Canada re-established diplomatic relations with Somalia in 2013 and is represented by its High Commission in Nairobi, Kenya.
In early 2019, Canada began a program of enhanced bilateral cooperation with Somalia. This enhanced cooperation is focused on advancing the human dignity of the poorest and most vulnerable through investments in education and health, promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and enhancing inclusive governance. This builds on Canada’s previous work with the international community, helping Somalia to stabilize and rebuild. Canada continues to support Somalia in its efforts to build capacity in key economic institutions and to develop sound macroeconomic policies through the International Monetary Fund’s Somalia Trust Fund. Since 2015, Canada has committed more than $8 million in counter-terrorism funding to Somalia, and East Africa more broadly, notably to address the threat of the al-Shabaab terrorist group. Such projects have focused on security sector capacity building, including training police and security officials, as well as preventing and countering violent extremism.
Canada and Somalia are linked by our strong people-to-people ties. Canada hosts one of the world’s largest Somali diaspora communities. Many Somali-Canadians have strong links to Somalia, and some returned to hold senior positions in Somalia’s federal and regional governments.
Canada has modest trade relations with Somalia. In 2021, two-way merchandise trade totalled $3.7 million. Canada’s main exports to Somalia in 2021 totalled $3.3 million, consisting of vehicles and equipment, machinery, textiles products, plastics and rubber products and specialized instruments. Canada’s imports from Somalia in 2021 totalled $423,000, consisting of chemical products, vegetable products, vehicles and equipment, and machinery.
Development and Humanitarian Assistance
Canada’s international assistance to Somalia is significant ($78.32 million in disbursements through all channels in 2020 and 2021).
Bilateral development assistance to Somalia reached $6.8 million between 2020 and 2021, targeting 3 Feminist International Assistance Policy Action Areas: advancing the human dignity of the poorest and most vulnerable through investments in education and health; promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and enhancing inclusive governance.
Canada is also a significant donor of humanitarian assistance in Somalia, responding to needs arising from the impact of decades of conflict and insecurity, as well as chronic natural disasters. To date in 2022, Canada has allocated a total of $27.75 million in humanitarian assistance funding to its UN, Red Cross/Red Crescent, and NGO partners to support populations affected by crisis in Somalia. Canada’s funding is helping to provide food, treatment for acute malnutrition and other critical health care, access to clean water and sanitation, emergency shelter and essential household items, and protection services to those in need.
Partnerships and organizations
To develop effective responses to today’s most pressing global challenges, Canada and Somalia work closely in multilateral fora, such as:
- International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- United Nations (UN)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
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