(Helen Branswell - StatNews) Representatives of countries from around the globe will
Somalia: Now Open for Business
Understandably, it will not be an easy task to induce the international community that Somalia is peaceful and ready for doing business and investment. It is true that Somalia was taken into devastating war in the last two decades. Nevertheless, Somalia is peaceful than you might imagine!
Thanks to the brave Somali people who endured the terrifying war bravely, Somalia is now largely calm and suitable for doing business. It will be a mistake to undermine the various combined hands of the international community which together contributed for the current pacified Somalia. Actually, the Somalis are grateful for it, a former Somali Ambassador to Ethiopia said. The Federal Government of Somalia, the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the civil war in 1991, was formed. Then, the federal government has been able to manage the security and economic recovery strategies. There is no smoke of bullet but dusts of economic construction in the country.
According to the Ethiopian Ambassador to Somalia, Wondimu Asamnew, as a result of the ongoing military offensive by AMISOM and Somali forces, al-Shabaab, is now ousted practically from all towns and ports. In the political sphere, Asamnew added, the people have come to understand the true nature of al-Shabaab and it is politically isolated from the people.
Alshebab is not a serious threat anymore, said Somali Ambassador to Ethiopia, H.E Ahmed Abdisalam in his interview with Walta Information Center. “Alshebab has no any place which can control it as its military and political bases like before. However, the scar left by the extremists in the mind of our people is a challenge”. The federal government is working strenuously to clear the hatred ideology planted by Alshebab in the communities. “Somalia is recovering quickly both economically and politically”.
Where al-Shabab is remaining is near the sea, according AMISOM reports. “That is why the next offensive, starting this month [August 2014], is called Operation Indian Ocean, so that we completely cut off its training camps, and supply routes on the sea” – Acting Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Wanyoto-Mutende noted.
After two years, the final wars to smoke-out Al Shabaab insurgents from the areas they control in Southern Somalia are underway, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud also told publicly to the media. The AMISOM mandated to conduct Peace Support Operations in Somalia in order to create conditions for the conduct of Humanitarian activities has been practically supportive. The alliance of the AMISON and Somali’s security and military forces were tasked with assuring security until civil administrations function well. Lydia Wanyotto said such mandates are part of the wider effort to improve security in Somalia. There has been a considerable change in the nature of the threats to the internal security of Somalia over the last two years. This change has caused the balance of policy missions to change and has added significantly to the daily security force requirements in Somalia, says Wanyoto-Mutende.
“The impression I got is that Somalia is largely peaceful because there is activity in many areas which the federal government of Somalia and Amisom have cleared of al-Shabab. Somalis are very good businesspeople; they are beginning to put up shops and you can see a lot of ships docking at the coast”. So, largely, Mogadishu is clear, Kismayo is clear, Beltrain is clear, Dobley is clear, she said, Life has come back to normal and people are going about their business, according to Geeska Afrika online (August 2014). The combined attacks from Somali and AMISON forces and the internal split within Al-Shabab leadership, most probably the abandon of the Eritrean regime (who used to finance and train them) after sanctioned by the UNSC could have played important role to smoke out the extremists.
Here after, the nation has concurrently experienced a period of intense reconstruction, particularly in the capital, Mogadishu. Through the years, Somalia has maintained an informal economy, based mainly on livestock, remittances, and telecommunications. The obvious indicator that it is calm is that countries that want to do business in Somalia already have presences of embassies. International organizations, NGOs, Embassies and other business groups are reopening their offices in Somalia. This did not come accidently but after practically observation that there is peace and stability in Somalia.
Somalia need: Economic and security assistance!
What it has lacked was peace and development. Poverty is a source of instability. It is practically scrutinized everywhere that war-torn countries need economic recovery to sustain its peace and security. According to the recent views of the UN Secretary General, Mr. Banki-moon and World Bank President Jim Young Kim, it seems that the world have well understood that the horn of Africa needs inclusive of security and development backings as the two are inseparable. They are comprehensive strategies. If either of them is missing, the other will not work out. Lack of development will obviously lead to instability and vice versa. Countries including Somalia with lack of delivering goods and services are prone to instability. The people could get peace and security but these alone are not certificates for its sustainability. Proper delivery of goods and services are also needed. Apparently, Somalia needs potential investment, trade link, and other basic services to rebuild its war ruined infrastructures, hospitals, water wells, universities and other important things for development. It will be naïve to expect Somalia will continue to sustain it’s already gained peace without backing it with economic development.
Somalia is gifted with untouched abundant fertile land suitable for agricultural products to secure food self-sufficient. It has productive labor and open minded people for business. What really Somalia needs right now is what we call ‘quick-impact projects’ – water, health, education and investment in telecom, banking, road infrastructures, and agriculture, health and livestock potential sectors as well. Turkey and Ethiopia can be practical example for their combined efforts to structurally help Somalia move both in economic and security ways. Asamnew confirmed that the relation between Somalia and Ethiopia is not only limited to regional peace and security, as many would imagine, but also includes education, transport, and trade and investment cooperation. These ties are meant to support Somalia to repair its economies and to guarantee future peace in the region. For a country that has been at war for more than 25 years, it needs international and regional assistances in investment.
“My country is at forming a working federal system so that all regions can cooperate for workable development and political administrations, Ambassador Ahmed stated. “Already the security and military forces are managing their own affairs at all administrative levels”. What we need is investment and economic relations. Somalia has productive work forces, vast natural resources suitable for investment. “We have the very people who are entrepreneurs and creative people who need partners to invest in any sectors, thus, the government of Somalia are ready to provide all security and other assistances for investors”. The responsibility of managing our affairs rests on us; the rest can only help us but at the end of the day, it is up to us to manage our affairs, reiterated referring to Somali Diasporas whose help will be constructive. There will not be a peace and security without actual development, he stressed. We Somalis have come to realize that without economic development, peace and security cannot alone make our people happy. The federal government of Somalia has been able to set up functioning administrative to make sure there is enabling environment for investors to operate peacefully.
The International communities together with the peace loving Somali people have almost finished the business of stabilizing Somalia in the security issue. However, one important thing is missing. That is recovering Somalia with economic development. If not, the lives sacrificed, blood poured, energy and resources lost to see a peaceful Somalia, so far will not be fruitful. Somalia will likely be engulfed into war again if joblessness, hunger, and frustration are not replaced by more robust economic renaissance. A young Somali who get educational opportunity, job access and other economic stimulate will never be expected to join the anti-peace forces. The best solution for Somalia is to empower its people with economic improvement. Poverty is a source of instability. If both economic and security help do not go inclusively, something wrong will erupt. Somalia’s future is brighter than you might imagine, if economic assistance along with the help exerted for peace and security is done.