Since the government of Somalia collapsed in 1991, much emphasis has been placed on rebuilding the state to facilitate economic growth, peace, and stability.
However, this process has attracted numerous efforts from state and non-state actors and has given more prominence to political reforms at the expense of other social, economic, and cultural reforms. Indeed, political reform is an important area that needs to be addressed in Somalia and many countries in the developing world.
Of importance, the effects of the civil war have overshadowed the same factors that drove the country into conflict in the first place. Similarly, few entities have highlighted the dangers of not addressing the leading causes of the initial civil war. Nonetheless, several areas need to be given attention as part of the reform process in the country.
On the other hand, no doubt that both the government, regional countries, and international and continental actors have been involved in several operations in Somalia. These operations have not brought peace to the country. There are too many actors involved in the process; most have divergent interests that may put the safety and security of the Somali citizen secondary to the primary goals. It should therefore start from within the people, and the government should support community participation and peacebuilding. It should be noted that the importance of security on investment and economic growth cannot be emphasized enough.
The role of education in society has broadened significantly over the years. More so when it comes to economic development, as most leading economies depend on intellectual property and innovation to drive their economic growth. First, education is a melting point for different cultures and identities, meetings, leadership and personal development, and team spirit. Somalia needs both aspects as it needs to experience rapid economic growth to meet its people’s demands and rebuild the economic infrastructure that has been damaged over the years. In addition, education reforms should prepare a new generation of Somalis who are passionate and love the country enough to protect it and build it. Skills in governance, technology, engineering, biology, and agriculture will be needed to drive the country forward. The new generation of Somalis will need to acquire these competitive skills to achieve the goals, and education will be the source.
The second and most important area to address is business. Here there is plenty of reason to hope, not least because of the insight of its traders, bankers, and entrepreneurs but Somalis worldwide are known for being very successful businesspeople. Somali-owned enterprises in neighboring countries have a significant impact on their economies. Therefore, there is a need to build on this money-making instinct by supplying capital for loans to medium- and small-sized Somali companies. Investments would need to be varied, including industrial equipment for fishing companies and frankincense exporters and an overhaul of the country’s destructive charcoal business to make it more sustainable. Somalis are also equally tech users. The country is one of the most advanced in Africa regarding mobile phone and internet usage. That can be further encouraged by subsidizing the cost of data uploads on mobile phones and paying for fiber-optic cables to be laid down. That will promote communication as well as online marketing in the country.
Although this is not a problem unique only to Somalia, as many countries in Africa face food shortages annually, it is an area that needs to be given more attention than currently it is receiving. The United Nations noted that around 7.7 million people still need humanitarian assistance. Somalia can feed herself and the region if proper measures are taken. Agriculture, livestock, and fishing can do better in Somalia than in many African countries. However, poor planning, less emphasis, and neglecting these areas have left the country in a difficult situation. Food production will not only ensure sufficient food for everyone in the country, but it will also be a significant foreign exchange source, thus boosting the economy. The question is, what will it cost to recover the agriculture sector in the country? For whatever cost it is, the benefit of effectively using. Somalia’s natural resources will be much more.
Relations with external actors
Having good relations with external actors is an important goal for most states. Even more important is when these relations are managed unitary and coordinated. Somalia has, in recent years, had a rather complicated engagement with different states and entities. That has been made difficult with the increasing involvement of regional governments in foreign relations. The result is that different states with different interests and capabilities have continued to further divisions in the country, and the Somali citizens get to lose in the process. Similarly, conflicts or differences with neighboring countries must be quickly resolved diplomatically to avoid further confrontation. The federal government should be able to focus on service delivery to the great people of Somalia. However, that will not be possible if the country does not have central command of its relations with external actors.
Dr. Mohamed BINCOF is a Ph.D. in Political Science and Public Administration, a university lecturer, and a Specialist in governance, strategy, and politics. you can reach him at email: firstname.lastname@example.org