Somalia’s Future Has Never Looked So Bright
There’s still a lot that needs to be done, but everything has finally gotten onto the right track.
Somalis are celebrating three achievements over the past week after Russia sent them 25,000 tons of humanitarian wheat, the UNSC lifted its three-decade-long arms embargo, and their country joined the East African Community (EAC). Each of these will strengthen Somalia’s food, physical, and economic security, thus collectively contributing to improving its future prospects at long last and after much suffering. There’s still a lot that needs to be done, but everything has finally gotten onto the right track.
Beginning with the first of these three achievements, Russia’s gift of so much free food will help manage the effects of the ongoing regional drought that hit Somalis very hard over the past year. Apart from improving the lives of the country’s most vulnerable citizens, it’ll also reduce the chances that some of them join terrorist groups out of desperation to feed their families. Furthermore, this gift serves to further strengthen Russian-Somali ties after Foreign Minister Abshir Omar Jama’s trip to Moscow in May.
As for the second achievement, Russia could build upon the above to assist Somalia in ensuring its people’s physical security through arms exports, training, and possibly even the dispatch of advisors via the model that it’s successfully implemented in the Central African Republic (CAR). To be sure, that country’s other partners (e.g. Qatar, Turkiye, US, etc.) could do the same, but it’s the Russian vector of this policy that could become a game-changer if Mogadishu seriously explores such ties with Moscow.
And finally, while the EAC’s latest expansion has pros and cons for the bloc as explained here in spring, it’s an entirely positive development for Somalia since it raises the number of stakeholders in its security. Not only do its newfound fellow members now have a greater interest in directly assisting it in this respect after the lifting of the UNSC’s arms embargo, but others like Russia have an additional incentive to do so too since they might plan to rely on a fully stabilized Somalia as their future gateway to the EAC.
Altogether, these three achievements have placed Somalia on a positive trajectory, though it’ll of course take some time for each of them to bring that country the security that they promise. Once that happens, however long it takes, the federal government will be in a much better position to resolve its dispute with the breakaway and de facto independent Somaliland region. Those like Russia that provide Somalia with the greatest help in getting to that point might then be asked to mediate a fair solution.