SOMALIA - NEW DEAL REACTIONS
SOURCE: AU/UN IST
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CREDIT REQUIRED: AU/UN IST
DATELINE: 15 SEPTEMBER 2013 / RECENT FILE
Somalia is walking the long path to recovery, turning its back on a destructive past that saw the Horn of African nation dragged through 22 years of civil war, bloodshed and famine. The country has come a long way over the last two years and the changes are evident.
This is the new look of Mogadishu, the nation’s capital, where new buildings transform the skyline and businesses mushroom across the city. Somalis in the Diaspora are coming back home to rebuild their country and bring much need income to fuel the economy.
The country's relative peace is giving confidence to both foreign and domestic investors largely thanks to continued efforts to secure the country from the Al Qaeda linked extremist group al Shabaab. The militant group was forced out of Mogadishu in 2011 and has since lost control of a number of key urban towns across Somalia following sustained military operations by the Somali National Army (SNA) supported by forces of the African Union mission (AMISOM). But the terrorist group still pose a threat to Somalia's fragile security and guarded hope.
This is what remained of a popular Mogadishu restaurant after a double suicide bombing by al Shabaab in early September; the third attack by the group on the Village Restaurant, killing 18 people and injuring dozens more. Ahmed Jama, the restaurant's owner, moved back home to Somalia from London over two years ago, leaving behind his job as a chef to open his chain of seafood restaurants in Mogadishu.
"When I opened my restaurant, people said this guy what is he doing is he crazy, something wrong with the guy. Then they realized that it's somewhere you and your family and friends can enjoy.” Says Ahmed Jama, the restaurant owner.
“When it was out on the local and international TV’s and to the wider Somalis watch everyone has hope and they say he's done it, so they can come back too and that’s the only reason they target me"
Although there have been setbacks, progress is being made under the one-year old federal government led by president Hassan Sheik Mohamud. Once again recognised on the international stage, the European Union and over fifty members of the international community are today (16th September) hosting the “New Deal For Somalia” conference in Brussels that aims to raise an targeted 1.2 billion Euros in support of Somalia’s reconstruction efforts in line with the EU's New Deal initiative to help countries in fragile and post-conflict situations.
The event hopes to set out a clear political vision of inclusiveness among various federal states in the country with elections planed for 2016. It will look into ways of improving Somalia's internal security, which has deteriorated over the last few months as well as defend its territorial waters. The conference hopes to set economic and developmental goals with the establishment of financial systems that can be held accountable for generating and managing the country’s revenue.
The Somali government will have the opportunity to talk to its international partners on strengthening the nation's economic and political institutions and on the way forward to help Somalia’s reconstruction efforts. We talked to residents in Mogadishu to see what they hoped the conference will deliver.
Sheikh Ahmed Sheikh Abukar is a former Member of Parliament and he had this to say.
“ The first priority should be genuine peace and they need to support the government to deal with the security problem. If we get peace we will prosper as a nation.” Says Sheikh Abukar. “Somalis are business-oriented people and if there is peace the we can rebuild our own nation.”
“The international community should give support directly to the federal government in order to improve security and to fight against al Shabaab and the enemies of peace.” Adds Yasin Hussein Sulaiman. “In order to improve the basic needs of the Somali people. They should give a lot of support for Somalia at this time because we need it.”
Ugaas Ali Hashi Ugaas Ahmed had this message for his leaders and the international community.
“The international community should come up with a solution and save the Somali people if they have respect for Human Rights. That’s my message.” Says Ugass Ali Hashi.