Collective Commitment to Enhance Accountability and Transparency in Emergencies: Southern Somalia Report, December 2016


Executive Summary

This report presents findings from the southern Somalia case study for the Collective Resolution to Enhance Accountability and Transparency in Emergencies (CREATE) initiative, led by Transparency International. The goal of the study was to produce an evidence base concerning corruption risks and prevention and mitigation measures in relation to the implementation of humanitarian assistance in southern Somalia. In its mapping of corruption risks, the study both describes perceived risks, as perceived by the stakeholders consulted, as well as specific examples of corruption. It also captures many of the good-practice mitigation measures being utilised. It was not, however, an investigation of any individual agency or group of agencies; nor does it attempt to quantify or estimate the overall percentage of losses due to corruption.

The study used a qualitative research approach, with findings generated from over 122 key-informant interviews and community consultations. These included consultations with 21 aid agencies, three humanitarian donor governments, a range of Somali government actors and private sector representatives, as well as experts working within the sector in Somalia and outside experts working on corruption issues. The focus of the research was on the supply chain and service delivery within a few key sectors, including food, health and protection, as well as cash as a delivery mechanism. The geographic areas of focus included Mogadishu, Jowhar, Baidoa, Afgooye, Dollow, and Kismayo and proximate rural areas, as well as Nairobi. The research team was supported by a stakeholder group of key actors within the humanitarian community working in southern Somalia. This group met to initiate the research in December 2015 and for a round of workshops on the preliminary findings in June 2016.

A second stakeholder meeting was conducted at the end of August 2016 in Nairobi to discuss the findings and recommendations. The study is the first independent review of corruption in the humanitarian sector working in and on southern Somalia. Previous research and analysis, however, has found that corruption is deeply entrenched in the economy and society in Somalia. The country ranks, for example, as one of the most corrupt in the world, at the bottom of the 2015 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index.

A number of factors influence the extent of corruption in Somalia. First, corruption and impunity extends back to the Siad Barre government and is considered to affect many aspects of Somali society. It is exacerbated by the limited reach and effectiveness of the state in terms of governance and security, as well as the lack of legal and legislative mechanisms to prevent or mitigate corruption. Within this legislative and policy vacuum, government or local authority representatives have created new, ad hoc rules and regulations to manipulate resources for their own gain. That power is significant in some localities and extends to high levels of control over available resources. Previous studies have found that all forms of aid are affected by this environment. The extent of perceived corruption is reflected in the findings from a survey undertaken in 2015 for the Secure Access in Volatile Environments (SAVE) study, where 87 per cent of Somali respondents viewed corruption as the single biggest impediment to receiving assistance, above insecurity and violence (Stoddard et al, 2016).