Somalia, IOM renovates Garowe airport

he newly renovated Garowe International Airport opened its doors on 8 January in the capital of Puntland state, Somalia. The airport had been closed since 2013 and now aims to make Garowe a hub for international travel.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, supported the renovation efforts led by the Puntland authorities, in full coordination with the federal government and international partners.

“A well established and functioning airport in Garowe is a step in the right direction towards the vision of secure and humane migration within, from, and to Puntland and the greater Somalia,” said Dyane Epstein, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission during the opening ceremony. “With the concerted efforts of all dedicated stakeholders, including those present here today, I believe that we can look forward with optimism,” she added.

The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo attended the event. Other government representatives present included the President of Puntland State, Vice President of Puntland State, the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of the Federal Government of Somalia, the Deputy Minister of Aviation and Airports of Puntland State and federal and state directors. Also present were representatives from the EU, World Bank and the UN, as well as government delegations from Ethiopia and Turkey.

Equipment and furnishings to support the smooth functioning of the airport was donated to the Government through the generous funding of the EU under the Better Migration Management (BMM) Programme, which aims to strengthen immigration and border management capacities. Additionally, IOM’s support for the airport through the BMM programme will increase capacities in data management, reception of passengers and queue management.

“The Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airports commends the dedicated collaboration between the Puntland Government, the Federal Government of Somalia and our international partners including UN members such as the UN Migration Agency for ensuring successful re-operationalization of Garowe Airport,” said Suad Salah Nurm, Deputy Minister of Civil Aviation and airport.

With the support of IOM, Garowe International Airport will be able to collect passenger information using the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS), IOM’s border management information system. This information is critical to a well-functional border management, as migration trends can be analysed by immigration authorities to improve services and inform policy. MIDAS is operational in over 19 countries globally, with its largest presence in Somalia.

BMM is funded by the EU Trust Fund for Africa and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and coordinated through the German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH (GIZ). It aims to improve migration management to reduce the trafficking and smuggling of migrants, within and from the Horn of Africa. IOM is one of the implementing partners within the programme.

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