Like the proverbial phoenix, Somalia is rising from the ashes

Published: February 27, 2019

We are not about to winnow any grains, as the tittle seems to allude to.

A recent discussion which has picked steam is that stories about Africa have been synonymous with everything injurious – tales of anarchy, violence, famine, displacements, corruption, and impunity and so on.

Has the continent been a victim of western media propaganda and stereotyping? Or is it surely the world worst place to be born and live in?

War ravaged Somalia has borne the brunt of this negative publicity more than any other country in the continent.

The horn of African nation has suffered more than its fair share from the vicious civil strife that mutated overtime since Said Barre was ousted in 1991.

Not all doom and gloom

However, to insinuate that all has been doom and gloom would be insensitive and malicious. For some people, it is hard to discern Somalia as a country from Somali, the person. Unfortunately, in their lopsided view, a dent on one’s image tarnishes all the others’ as well.

Yet the Somali brand has been one of resilience, audacity and of converting obstacles into opportunities that pervade across geopolitical divide.

Given the opportunity, Somalis are unmatched in their zeal and industry. Far more potent evidence dispels the stereotypical rumours that associate the Somali brand with violence.

The Somali hand has been magical everywhere it went. The East African Business Journal, for instance, reported in 2016 that Somalis clearly lead the business sector among Africans.

The involvement of Somalis in lucrative business enterprises transcends transnational and continental boundaries. In the East African economies of Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Tanzania, Uganda and even South Sudan, the Somali economic activities are noticeably pronounced.

Contribution to the world

There are estimates that Somalis have invested billions in Eastleigh alone. Many have also been well schooled and are eking a living through their respective professional careers.

There are prominent Somali lawyers, lawmakers, academicians, engineers, medical doctors, professors, religious scholars, among other technocrats across the globe. Yet others are involved in politics and hold senior government positions around the world.

The world is awash with remarkable stories of the resilience of Somalis. Ilham Omar is the first ever Somali-American member of congress after she won Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District. She was a refugee from Somalia when she got a settlement opportunity in the USA and fought her way up to win the elective seat. It was not a mean feat by any standards.

Ilhan has captured the imagination of many. Her name and her conspicuous smile reverberates across the globe. Yet hers is not an isolated political triumph for a Somali in North America.

Ahmed Hussein, a Canadian-Somali pulled off another first. In 2014, the trained lawyer presented himself as a candidate to represent York South—Weston Constituency as a parliamentary candidate on Liberal Party of Canada Ticket.

He won the nominations in a field of six candidates and went on win the seat, becoming the first ever Somali-Canadian elected to the House of the Commons.

In 2017, he was appointed as Minister for Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship.

He went on to transform Canadian Immigration policy, gradually increasing the number of immigrants into the country a move that has assuaged labour shortages in Canada.

Somalis have thrived in various fields. In Somalia, President Mohamed Abdullahi (Farmajo) and his PM Hassan Ali Khaire are a clear manifestation of what cooperation and administrative stability can achieve.

Hope at last

It is ambitiously pragmatic. It is a mammoth mission meant to parlay a country that had been broken into something of an enviable empire.

The dividends are trickling. The revenue collection base has improved markedly, prompting the praise of IMF.

There is a genuine hope for debt relief in the horizon. Slowly but surely, the Federal Government is beginning to fulfill its mandates. Civil servants are now regularly remunerated.

The government of President Farmajo and PM khayre is certainly on a progressive trajectory that is well appreciated by stakeholders, both at home and abroad.

Many might call this baby steps but the hope on the air only the Somalis can fathom.

By: Ahmed Mohamed
Mr Mohamed is a social and political development commentator

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *