Though Somalia is coveted for its strategic location and huge marine resources, it remains one of the largely unstable and underdeveloped countries in Africa. With its longest coastline, bordering Ethiopia to the west, Kenya to the southwest and the Gulf of Eden, it has attracted many foreign countries to the region.
Over the years, Somalia has been in quest of political stability, peaceful investment environment and sustainable development. There have been attempts to help the country establish its political institutions and structure political power.
In 1991, for instance, a multi-phased international conference on Somalia was held in neighbouring Djibouti.
The Djibouti conference was followed by two abortive agreements for national reconciliation and disarmament, which were signed by 15 political stakeholders: an agreement to hold an Informal Preparatory Meeting on National Reconciliation and the 1993 Addis Ababa Agreement made at the Conference on National Reconciliation.
The Transitional Federal Government (TFG) was the internationally recognized government of Somalia until August 20, 2012, when its tenure officially ended. As part of the official “Roadmap for the End of Transition”, a political process that provided clear benchmarks leading toward the formation of permanent democratic institutions in Somalia.
The end of the interim mandate of the Transitional Federal Government was followed by the inauguration of the Federal Government of Somalia. By 2014, Somalia was no longer at the top of the fragile states index, dropping to second place behind South Sudan.
That said, Somalia with an estimated population of around 15 million inhabitants in 2018, still has a long way towards establishing solid institutions, address current challenges and engage in sustainable development.
In an email interview with IDN, Abukar Arman, who served as Somalia’s Special Envoy to the United States and writes on geopolitics of the region, talks about the current challenges and the way forward.