Garowe, March 27 – Somalia’s Coastal and rural communities are the mainstay and backbone of the national economy, and they are the least developed as if by design. It is a paradox. This under-development in these vital economic sectors is one of the main factors next to bad governance and poor leadership as to why the country is among the least developed nations.
Rural and coastal communities have been suffering from inaccessibility and absence of infrastructure to move goods and people to urban centers, to transfer and receive know-how and ideas.
Historically, fascist Italy sent thousands of poor farming folks from its overcrowded agricultural sector to Shabelle and Jubaland regions of Somalia. Colonial administrations had little interest in developing other areas of the colony. They were obsessed in relieving Italy’s unemployment burden. Italian boys were not trained to raise camels in a semi-desert in Africa. They were not fishermen either. Somalia’s rural and coastal communities were left to their own devices.
British colonial administrators faired no better. They were interested in exporting loads of meat to their military garisons in Aden, South Yemen, and fighting off Drawish Movement led by Sayyid Mohamed Abdullah Hassan. Their side interest was their much advertised hobby, the so-called “Sports in Somaliland” ( shooting to kill wild animals without mercy).
Enter Somalia’s administrations following the colonial ones. They changed no iota to the Colonial mode of production, labour and economic management. They seemed to imitate and copy the minds of yesterday’s colonial men. Mind you, most of these new Somalia’s leaders after the nominal independence were of nomadic background, and ironically they never looked back to contemplate about improving the lives of their respective communities, to forget about fishing communities, which were treated like untouchable Indian caste.
To develop this country in a meaningful way, we need to do the hard work of constructing extensive road network linking up rural, coastal and urban communities as priority in any future economic planning. Any alternative plan is not worth the bits and bytes typed in.
One more thing: if you do not train youth pouring in to urban centres to acquire labor skills they will turn to violence and substance abuses, and become beggers and refugees.
About the blogger:
This blog is associated with the former Chief of Staff in Puntland State Presidency, 1998-2005. He also worked with the UN and World Bank Joint Secretariat for Somalia’s Re-construction and Development Program (RDP), 2005-2006, as a Zonal Technical Coordinator for Puntland and later as National Aid Technical Coordinator with the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and European Union. He is now an independent political analyst and commentator on current issues and occasionally gives historical perspective on modern Somalia’s politics. He lives and works in Toronto, Canada. He can be reached at: email@example.com
View all posts by Ismail Warsame