Despite the many positive signs of stabilization, Somalia faces considerable challenges before any form of durable security for the state and its citizens can be achieved. Many of the most urgent problems are well known. A broad distinction can be made between key structural factors and agent-based factors.
Somalia poses one of the toughest challenges for the international community in terms of peace-making and peace building. Despite the improving social indicators noted above, Somalia is currently near the bottom of all the political, economic and social indexes for peace and stability.
In 2000, there were 130 million people living in the wider Horn of Africa. By 2008 this figure had grown to nearly 170 million – an annual rate of population growth of nearly 3.9%. Most of the population is under 14 years of age. Poverty is endemic. Nearly 82% of the population is suffering from multidimensional poverty. Somalia’s Gross Domestic Product per capita is among the lowest four in the world (USD 284).The health sector is still poorly maintained and was severely tested during 2013 by a Polio outbreak.
Somalia is faced with a structural economic problem. Like many other economies in the region, Somalia mainly bases its revenues on commodity exports. However, the commodities in this regard are mainly livestock (camels) exported to the Gulf, and charcoal (exported mainly from Kismayo). Revenues are in turn dependent on fluctuating global prices, which can easily cause uncertainty and vulnerability. Furthermore, Somalia is not involved in advanced technological industries or research and development. Closely connected to the structural economic problems is the challenge posed by endemic corruption, which has a long history in Somalia. Years of corruption and financial mismanagement still pose the chief concerns for the international donor community’s long-term commitment to Somalia. Without transparent and accountable economic and financial operations, other sectors in Somalia cannot work. Checks and balances are needed, including strong financial control mechanisms. Hence, as much as short-term military interventions are considered, long-term strategies to combat corruption are vital for the security of the country.
Forum Syd intervention in Somalia will look into supporting initatives on democracy and rights, gender equality, Sustainable Use of Natural Resources, as well as on peace and dialogue building processes across the country to strengthen the Somali civil society Organizations at grass root level.