Somalia is a country in the Horn of Africa that borders Djibouti, Ethiopia, Indian Ocean, the Guardafui Channel, and the Gulf of Eden. It has a total area of approximately 246,201 square miles, making it the 42nd largest country in the world.
Somalia has the longest coastland on Africa’s mainland. The country is divided into 18 regions. The population of Somalia is approximately 14 million people.
Somalia is one of the least developed Countries in the World which has experienced more than two decades of civil war that led the death of hundreds of thousands and injuries of uncounted innocent civilians, human displacement of more than millions of Somali Citizens around Europe, America and some neighboring Countries and more than 1.1 million as internally displaced people in Mogadishu.
Somalia is still in the stage of state building process which is slowly progressing for the past one decade although the government institutions are not yet strong enough for delivering the public services to its citizens and could not able to guarantee the safety of its people from the different enemies of the nation.
The literacy rate of Somalia is 49.7, which clearly shows the country’s capacity in the education sector is very low and the quality of the education is very poor.
According to UNICEF Somalia, Somalia ranks the ten poorest countries in the world, 43% of the populations are living in extreme poverty with less than 1 US dollar a day, and over half of the labor forces are unemployed, about 4.7 million people are dependent on humanitarian aid and livelihood assistance. More than 300,000 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished, and 1.7 million children are out of school. The country is prone to drought and flooding and suffered a famine in the South, in 2011 in which 258,000 people have died – half of them under the age of 5 years. There are 1.1 million people internally displaced with insecurity the major cause of displacement (86.2 per cent), followed by drought (7.8) and lack of livelihood opportunities and more than million refugees in neighboring countries.
Although the country is facing all the challenges of natural disasters like droughts, flash floods, wars, low level of quality education, non-existent and poor health services and the physical infrastructure is badly damaged by the civil war, with the scars left behind still visible and undeniable.
On the other hand, the country has got enough untapped natural resources including iron, uranium, copper, tin, bauxite, gypsum, salt, oil & natural gas and wildlife but the vast majority of the people of this Country are living below the poverty line which they don’t deserve, it’s like a rich man dying of hunger or the owner of a well dying of thirsty while they both have all the necessary resources to survive and live a prosperous life.
CORRUPTION IS KILLING THE ECONOMIC GRWOTH OF SOMALIA
According to 2019 report released Thursday, Transparency International (TI) determined that Somalia is still the most corrupt nation on earth with a score of 9 out of 100 points. Close to Somalia are South Sudan and Syria with 12 and 13 points respectively
Elections in Somalia present a clear picture of pervasive corruption which has made politics a game of dirty money, where if you have to win you need to be always money-laden and your pockets be full of cash. The UN Panel of Experts in its 2019 report noted that South West MPs were flown to Mogadishu in December 2018 and each received $5,000 ahead of the state presidential poll, similar cases were reported in Puntland ahead of the January 2019 presidential elections.
Although the Somali government has not yet issued a statement about TI 2019 report but the Minister of Finance H.E. Abdirahman Duale Baileh, had dismissed the 2018 report and clarified that it’s not based on facts.
Corruption is one of the biggest enemies that is hindering the economic growth of Somalia, because its more than one decade since the country is being ruled by Somali Government and the institutions are somehow functional although the Country is very much dependent on foreign aid and the support of friendly Governments such as Turkey, Qatar, America, Italy and ITC.
Somalia has defended its corruption rank for two consecutive years, a lot of Somali political analyst and intellectuals believe if the Government tax and other revenue is managed well, the Country’s economy could grow rapidly which will lead the eagerly awaited development of Somalia.
FOREIGN AID IN SOMALIA
Foreign aid is money, materials, and services given or loaned by governments, organizations, and individuals in rich Countries to help people in poor Countries.
Aid fuels corruption and conflicts in Africa, according to Stockholm Peace Research Institute, Africa Is the most conflict ridden region in the World, during 1990s, there were seventeen major armed conflicts in Africa Alone, compared to ten in total, elsewhere in the world, Africa also receives the largest amount of foreign aid, receiving more per capita in official development assistance than any other region in the world.
There are so many Countries that have tried to support Somalia for both humanitarian and developmental aid but most of them have failed to address the intended challenges,” it’s said Aid is not a free lunch”, Turkey, UAE, America and Italy are among the Countries that usually support and give aid to the Somali Government and its people, for instance UAE has extended its presence in Somalia April 2015, and started supporting security both Federal and Regional security forces and trained so many in the National armed forces of Somalia.
UAE has also given humanitarian support to the Somali People during the natural disasters especially the droughts in South west regions but Foreign Aid is foreign policy tool, after doing good activities for the Somali people the UAE have shown their true colors and begun Geo-strategic fight against the Somali Government which targeted important regional ports and signed agreements with the autonomous Federal States including Puntland, and Somaliland.
The aim of UAE developmental aid was to lower the economy of Somalia and make Somalia’s main ports marginalized so that UAE with their world class ports will handle all the trade intended for Africa and for that reason they have seen Somalia as their first enemy with their strategic ports which can attract the largest shipping lines it’s against this backdrop that UAE sensed that Somalia with its Geo-strategic location is more valuable than UAE and their ports.
In March 2018, Somali Government has taken the highly welcomed and outstanding decision which banned Dubai ports operator DP World from conducting business within its borders. The decision was followed by an agreement between Abu Dhabi and Somaliland, a semi-autonomous region, to develop an economic zone, under which the company owned 51 percent of the shares and Ethiopia, 19 percent. From Mogadishu’s perspective, the deal violated Somalia’s sovereignty and ultimately detrimental to its territorial integrity.
TURKEY’S SUPPORT TO SOMALI GOVERNMENT
In 2011, President Ordegan visited Mogadishu when he was the Prime Minster of the Republic of Turkey during the droughts in some of the regions of the Country which caused Internal displacement of more than million people to Mogadishu, there were also security threats but President Ordegan arrived in Mogadishu when even African Presidents were not willing to visit Somalia and this sent a message to the world and attracted the needed attention and publicity, which in return generated lots of goodwill and help which was desperately needed at that time, the Turkish people and their humanitarian agencies and NGOs has given humanitarian assistance to the needy people and they showed solidarity and brotherhood to the Somali people during a very difficult time, this resulted with the implementation of President Ordegan’s guaranteed activities, TIKA and other Turkish NGOs have successfully implemented tremendous activities including but which is not limited to renovation of Mogadishu port, Adan Abdulle Airport, 23 kilometer roads, Maarif School, Ordegan Hospital and the largest army training academy and so many other important activities.
Furthermore, the Turkish aid to the Somali people was unconditional and provided more than billions worth of aid to Somalia which had a positive impact, the projects were tangible and they were highly appreciated by all Somalis; the Somalis felt for the first time that unconditional genuine help and support can make a big difference, that is why nowadays in Mogadishu every white man is known as a Turkish Citizen. The Somalis and the Somali Government will not forget the brotherly and timely support of the Turkish people and their Government and the history of Somalia will reflect the Turkish positively. Other Countries have been extending their support in Somalia, but after the arrival of President Ordegan in Mogadishu that’s when real genuine projects got implemented, the Turkish changed the aid game to the better.
Its time Somalia stopped its dependency on foreign aid and the fight against corruption because the two are the biggest enemies of the development of any given country, in order the Government to achieve economic growth that creates employment for the Somali citizens and make possible better health service, quality education and independent judicial system there is immense need for strong Governance system and developmental agenda that can address all the existing developmental challenges and the most important thing is to not duplicate the constitutions of other countries and their achievements because everything needs to be
Contextualized to the local dynamics of Somalia, the solutions need to be home grown and customized to the needs of the Somalis.
Rwanda is one of the best practical examples of a Country that has undergone genocide and civil war which later on achieved something exceptional that the world was not expecting, today Kigali is one of the cleanest cities in Africa, Rwanda Government had less foreign aid and more of direct foreign investment and by any means if aid is given they have managed to align it with their strategic plan and the vision of the Country, Rwanda is currently one of the middle economic Countries in the world and they have achieved all these factors with a landlocked, small Country with no adequate natural resources not like the ones god has endowed in Somalia.
Somalia has got enough natural resources with the longest coastline in Africa’s mainland and yes what worked for Rwanda can also work for Somalia.
Mr. Mohamed Hassan Mohamed