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Guest posts

Ten years after Black Hawk Down and chaos, the world is once again set on ‘rescuing’ Somalia. 50 states supported last week’s Somalia conference in London. William Hague re-opened a British embassy. The U.S. has pumped more than $1.5 billion worth of assistance into the country since 2009, including the $40 million pledged on Tuesday. UNDP staff are waiting to follow its new country director on his way to Mogadishu and everyone hopes that aid will produce stability which will encourage security, as the country is still considered an international battleground in the fight against al-Qaeda.

The UNDP has captured these efforts in a beautiful promotion video tellingly under the name, “A new Somalia”.

Apparently, no one wants the old Somalia back. The infighting, the piracy, the terrorism and the hopelessness. Instead of American soliders the emphasis is now on country-led and country-owned solutions. Not only has Somalia endorsed the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, but its government is touring the world this year to drum up investment and support for its slow path to recovery. However, Somalia needs to handle its natural blessings wisely and not sell out to prying international investors. (Read more by Katrina Manson on oil in the FT). 

The cracks are visible. Somalia will need to deal with its violent and chaotic past to be able to advance. Whether this comes in the form of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission such as in Sierra Leone or in the re-making of the old colonial borders such as in Sudan. Radical and brave solutions must prevail to avoid the fate of the Congo, where an oblivious international community, weak politicians and a docile population have surrendered to the iron first of civil war. I dare speak hopefully and say, there is enough wisdom and potential to create another success story. But it needs to be led from within.

Therefore I will keep quiet and hand over to Mohamud Uluso, a Somalian journalist outspoken in his support for the current government and a united Somalia.

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Black Men and Masculinity

This is a guest post by poet JJ Bola first published on his Blog This is life. Bola is born in Kinshasa, Congo but raised in London. His poems and musings are thought provoking and examine life from a different side. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Black men and masculinity. A topic of discussion that does not receive as much attention as it should, nonetheless, it needs to be discussed more frequently if we, as black people, and humanity in general, are to form progressive, balanced relationships with one another.
We live in a predominantly patriarchal world, and in contemporary western society, black men in the diaspora, have had a particular image projected about them. Black men, through literature, the arts, music, media etc, have continuously been shown as brutes, thugs, violent, vandals, etc. However, in cases, where the imagery is a positive representation, as professional, they are still shown as emotionless men, who are ruthless in thought. We have been bombarded with this image, of black men, and guns and gangs, interestingly, to the point where, just google the word “thug” and look at the images you get.  Read More

The need for ownership of African problems and solutions

This is a guest post by Zainab Usman, a DPhil candidate in International Development at Oxford University. Her research focus is on the political economy of economic diversification in Sub-Saharan Africa. The post was originally posted on her successful blog Zainab’s musings which has over 5000 followers. 

“Africa’s story has been written by others; we need to own our problems and solutions and write our story.”  Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda

With these words, Paul Kagame did two things simultaneously: he earned a spot in the top-10 memorable quotes from the recently concluded World Economic Forum (WEF) Summit 2013 at Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. More importantly, his remark implied that Sub-Saharan Africa today is underscored by a profound failure of African ownership of lingering problems and potential solutions – a failure of an African conceptualisation of these problems and their solutions and consequently a failure of taking responsibility for successes and failures.

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