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.