The US government broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) will is launching
a new daily radio broadcast in the Somali language to the Horn of
Africa, writes Eric Nyakagwa.

The daily half-hour broadcast will start on February 12, and will rely on a group of Somali broadcasters at VOA's headquarters in Washington, DC and freelance reporters in Africa and elsewhere.

We look forward to joining the information community in Somalia,” a statement issued by the United States embassy in Nairobi, Kenya quoted VOA Director Dan Austin as saying.“Providing accurate, objective, and timely news and information to the people of Somalia is vital during this critical time in the region's history,” he added.

The new half-hour VOA program will air seven days a week and will include world news as well as news of Somalia and the region. The broadcast will also offer music and discussion features that will allow leaders and ordinary listeners alike to express their opinions on topics of interest.

The servise is being funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State.  The new service will supplement VOA's current broadcasts to the Horn of Africa in Amharic, Afar, Oromo and Tigrigna. VOA previously broadcast in Somali between 1992 and 1994.The VOA Somali broadcast will air on AM, FM and shortwave radio at 1600 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) (7:00 pm in Somalia) and will be repeated at 1700 UTC (8:00 pm in Somalia).

The 1700 UTC broadcast will also air on HornAfrik (88.8 FM), a VOA-affiliated station.  The programmes will also be available live and on demand on the service's website.