Adjoa Anyimadu: What can the West do to help Somalia?

 

Share
Related Topics

The London Conference on Somalia has received a surprising amount of publicity at a time when economic turmoil in Greece and unrest in Syria are pressing international concerns.

The presence of high-level participants including Hillary Clinton, Ban Ki-moon and a host of Presidents, Foreign Ministers and officials from over 40 countries and international organisations has drawn media attention, and offers the hope that the UK government has set solid groundwork for its ambition to galvanise the international community into coordinating its approach to Somalia.

There has been scepticism about the reasons behind holding another international conference like this. In an effort to reassure voters in the UK, David Cameron has emphasised the importance of stability in Somalia for British interests, but protests outside Lancaster House yesterday demonstrated that these international efforts are not seen positively by all Somali people either. It is important that the international community acknowledges the need for any move forward to be as representative of the range of Somali views and interests as possible.

Somalia does not exist in a total state of chaos. A number of regional entities have emerged since the state collapsed in 1991, and the most-established of these, Somaliland and Puntland, have been built through local efforts to create stable and secure environments with elected governments. This contrasts with the situation in the capital, Mogadishu, which is controlled by the internationally-supported but ineffectual Transitional Federal Government of Somalia (TFG). At the London Conference, there has been broad international consensus that the TFG’s mandate should not be extended past its August expiry date, but this must be accompanied by a willingness to explore ways of supporting more local efforts to establish stability.

Most importantly, the international community must pay attention to lessons from past international intervention in Somalia. Reports that Western players including the UK, France and the Netherlands have considered launching strikes against pirates and militants in Somalia are worrying. Foreign incursions into Somalia in the past have not established lasting peace and order in the country, and have often made the situation much worse for civilians on the ground.

As one participant in a consultation between the Somali diaspora and the British government held at Chatham House said, the international community must be prepared for the possibility that its current efforts could fail. If the emphasis is placed on short-term military strategy rather than long-term development and economic growth, failure is almost certain.

At yesterday’ conference, Hillary Clinton spoke of how the international community is prepared to start building better service provision and more stable state institutions in Somalia. The best thing that Western governments can do is not meddle, and be prepared to be flexible in their support for Somali-owned initiatives.

Adjoa Anyimadu is Assistant Researcher, Africa Programme, Chatham House

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

EYFS Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education require an ex...

Year 3 Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 3 primary supply teacher ne...

SEN Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Supply special educational ne...

Regional ESF Contract Manager

£32500 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Birmingham: European Social Fund...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

August catch-up: Waiting on the telephone, tribute to Norm and my Desert Island Discs

John Rentoul
Jihadist militants leading away captured Iraqi soldiers in Tikrit, Iraq, in June  

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Robert Fisk
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home