The main hope for peace lies in the northern parts of Somalia: in Somaliland, which used to be a separate British colony, and is now relatively peaceful and well governed, and in Puntland. Somaliland has in effect seceded from Somalia, and yearns for full legal independence. Puntland, Mr Yusuf's own stronghold, which was the northern part of Italian Somaliland, is now pretty autonomous, but its leaders prefer to see Puntland as a building block for a future federal Somalia.Worth reading it all, for the Economist sees some glimmer of hope. However, that's sort like looking for the pony in a room full of horse manure, in my view.
Meanwhile, the rest of the country is wretched. Most people are illiterate. Only 18% of children go to primary school. Garowe, Puntland's dusty capital, is swollen with migrants from the south. Its slums are spreading, the wells are contaminated, cholera occasionally breaks out, and polio has reappeared. Habitat, a UN agency that tries to provide housing and shelter, is struggling to bring some order here and in other Somali towns.
But it is more trade, not aid, that might improve things the most. Saudi Arabia could help by restoring its imports of Somali livestock that were stopped in 2000, and Somalia needs help developing its offshore fishing waters, which are being plundered by foreign boats.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
By the Economist: