NPR logo Chaotic Somalia Hires PriceWaterhouse To Order Its Finances


Chaotic Somalia Hires PriceWaterhouse To Order Its Finances

A boy carrying ammunition for Islamic fighters shields his ears as an Islamic fighter shoot towards Somali government forces, Friday, July 3, 2009 in Mogadishu. AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor hide caption

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AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor

Somalia may be a violent failed state, replete with pirates plying the waters far off its coast. But at least its financial accounts should be in order after PriceWaterhouse gets through with it.

According to the Financial Times, Somalia has hired the large accounting firm to audit its accounts that contain foreign donor money.

An FT excerpt:

At the demand of international donors, the besieged government has asked PwC to set up money tracking systems to ensure that aid sent to Somalia, including $67m pledged in April, is spent as intended and not stolen by corrupt officials.

Somalia is in the latest phase of an 18-year civil war as Islamist insurgents, including some allegedly linked to al-Qaeda, seek to topple the western-backed government. Shoot outs, mortar attacks and suicide bombings have become so intense that aid agencies and the United Nations no longer base foreign staff in the country.

Abdulrahman Adan Ibrahim, Somalia's first deputy prime minister, said his government's efforts to tackle the Islamists and piracy had been constrained by the slow delivery of funds from donors nervous about their money going astray in the absence of a formal banking system.

"We want to be different from other African countries. We want to show the world that the money given to us will be going to where they want it, to be used in a transparent way," he said.

Accounting has a reputation as a fairly unexciting line of work. That won't be the case in Mogadishu.

Another FT excerpt:

In common with most accountancy firms, PwC is renowned for its extreme aversion to litigation risk in developed markets. In Somalia it will face physical risk. Many non-Somali diplomats and aid workers who go to the country restrict their visits to a day or two and travel in armoured vehicles with Somali guards carrying machineguns.