The international community has pledged more than $250-million to beef up security in Somalia. The funds were pledged during a one-day donors' conference in Brussels and significantly exceeded organizers' expectations.
The United Nations hoped to raise about $166 million at the Somalia pledging conference in Brussels. Instead, participants vowed to shell out more than $250 million, with much of that money earmarked for the African Union peacekeeping force.
The AU force is expected to eventually double to 8,000 troops in Somalia.
Not surprisingly, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso called the meeting a success.
"I think the meeting of today has been a very good meeting. A very constructive meeting to look at the problems of Somalia, and the attendance has been splendid," he said.
The meeting was attended by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as well as Somalia's President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
Mr. Ahmed said he would do everything he could to stabilize war-torn Somalia and to crack down on the rampant piracy off its shores.
Besides helping the African Union forces, the funds will also be used for U.N. training programs for Somali police officers and to pay for medicine, education, and rural development programs in Somalia.