On 12 April 2018, VNG International together with the Association of Local Authorities of Somaliland (ALGASL) launched a new two-year project on inclusive economic development. The Advancing Strong Partnerships for Inclusive and Resilient Economic Development (ASPIRE) project is funded by the European Union and co-funded by our Inclusive Decisions At Local Level (IDEAL) programme.
Building on current international investments in the Port of Berbera, ASPIRE focuses on strengthening the capacity of Berbera District and Berbera Economic Forum to provide services promoting inclusive economic development to local businesses, in cooperation with civil society and local communities. ALGASL supports the dissemination of lessons learned beyond Berbera to the other Somaliland districts.
The launch event brought together over 100 representatives from government, private sector, civil society, local communities and international organisations who actively participated in panel debates on the challenges and opportunities of multi-stakeholder cooperation in LED, as well as the potential of the new Berbera Freezone. ASPIRE will apply the Territorial Approach to Local Development (TALD), which was discussed in a presentation by VNG International associate expert Alfonso García Salaues.
Key notes speeches were given by – amongst others – the Mayor of Berbera, the Governor of Sahil Region, and the Deputy Ambassador of the Netherlands to Somalia Mr Tijmen Rooseboom, on behalf of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the EU.