Poverty and instability have shattered the lives of many in Somalia since the collapse of the country’s government in 1991. However, despite its impoverished state, the country still has a lot to offer.
Whether a future Somali state can be established depends on resolving two core issues of political economy: ownership of productive resources and the means of production, and control of monetary authority and mechanisms for contracting.
The Civil War
The Civil War of 1991 shattered Somalia and left the country fractured. While many areas of Somalia have been able to recover, the rest of the country remains in a state of poverty and violence.
The root causes of poverty in Somalia are complex. However, there are three major issues that are key to the problems facing the people of Somalia.
Firstly, the lack of a central government is one of the leading causes of poverty in the country. Without a strong government, it is impossible to create policies and implement them.
This is particularly true in the case of Somalia. Since 1991, Somalia has been fractured, and there are two regions that have experienced more stability with regard to economic conditions: Puntland and Somaliland.
Furthermore, the clan structure of the country does not necessarily redistribute resources fairly amongst its inhabitants. Rather, it leads to more violence and famines as different clans compete for access to resourceful lands.
In Mogadishu, for example, the militias of Habar-Gidir and Abgal clashed for control of the city. Similarly, the militias of Digil and Mirifle fought over control of Baidoa.
As a result of these conflicts, the people of Somalia are left in a state of extreme poverty. These conflicts are especially exacerbated by the lack of a central government. This is because the lack of a central government makes it harder for a government to implement policies and create laws. The lack of a central government also makes it more difficult for a country to achieve development goals.
The Lack of a Central Government
The lack of a central government is one of the most significant factors that contribute to poverty in Somalia. It is difficult to put policies in place when there is not an active government that can act as a single entity. This is a problem in every country but it is especially bad in Somalia because of its history.
Despite its many problems, the World Bank estimates that the Somali government is working to create a new constitution and establish Federal Member States. This is a promising step toward stabilization. However, the government still has a long way to go to fully restore stability to the country.
It is important to note that the country has experienced a complete collapse of the state in 1991, with many areas of the country still being under the control of armed groups. The central government is very weak and has been unable to fully regain control of the country.
In the regions, there are a range of governance structures that differ significantly. These include customary law (xeer) and sharia law, which both provide a foundation for governance. These are often used to resolve disputes and provide a basis for political activity in varying ways across the territories.
These varying systems of governance are important for understanding the complex nature of politics and law in the Somali territories. They also help to reframe debates on ‘ungoverned spaces’ and statelessness by providing a space for exploring and conceptualizing the variety of governance arrangements that have worked in these societies.
The Separation of Somalia into Somaliland
The separation of Somalia into Somaliland in 1991 led to a rise in ethnicity-based conflicts and famine. It also weakened the state’s infrastructure, as it was no longer able to control all aspects of economic and social development.
While the separate Somaliland economy has recovered in some areas, it remains weak and vulnerable to environmental shocks. The country remains primarily dependent on international trade, especially in livestock, charcoal and hides. Moreover, famines in the past decade left over half of the population in food insecurity.
Corruption is widespread in the country. Consequently, it undermines public trust in government institutions and impedes institution-building.
Remittances from overseas Somalis account for a large part of the welfare system in Somalia, with remittances ranging from 40% to 60% of household income. However, these remittances are unequally spread across the population, and they are often insufficient to meet basic needs.
Furthermore, the state’s judiciary lacks capacity and independence. Its judges are appointed on the basis of clan or political association and they are regularly criticized for their incompetence.
Several legal systems, such as Shariah and Xeer, have gained prominence since 1991. This has led to tensions between the government and a range of religious groups.
In addition, some local governments, mostly elders, provide law and order in remote areas. Nevertheless, these institutions are often inadequate in ensuring protection of the rights of women and children. During the reporting period, the government of Somaliland passed legislation on sexual intercourse and related offenses that were criticized by many women and human rights organizations.
The Lack of Education
The lack of education and health care is one of the major causes for poverty in Somalia. The country is considered to be one of the poorest in Africa, and more than 60% of its population lives in extreme poverty or near-poverty.
The problem is that there are not enough schools to cater for the educational needs of the entire country. This is a huge issue, as it has affected many children and adults in the country.
In order to combat this, the United States and other foreign governments are helping with funding for the new system of education in Somalia. The government is also trying to attract international organizations, but it is still a big challenge for them to find the right people to help.
This is why they have to take more than just money into consideration, but also local traditions and mindsets. It is a very complex problem that cannot be fixed overnight.
In order to solve this issue, they have developed a new system called “Bar Ama Baro,” which means Teach and Learn in Somali. It is a completely different approach than the previous one, and it is really appreciated by teachers as well.
The Lack of Health Care
Somalia is a country that suffers from severe lack of health care. This includes a lack of doctors, nurses and midwives to attend to the needs of its people. In addition, the population is highly vulnerable to diseases and malnutrition due to conflict, insecurity, famine, flooding and poor public services.
Despite the efforts of international organizations and NGOs, funding to improve health in Somalia has not improved. According to the World Health Organization, Somalia spends less than 2% of its budget on health.
To be more effective, Somalia must increase its investments in the health sector and ensure that it delivers quality healthcare. Moreover, the country must adopt health policies and strategies that are legally-backed.
In addition, a national regulatory authority must be established to take stock of health service providers and health learning institutions. This will help to determine the qualifications and competencies of health professionals.
The health sector in Somalia has a high cost, and the government is not always able to sustain it. Consequently, private health facilities have become the dominant provider of medical services in the country.
These private health centers are also a source of stigma and discrimination in the society. Stigma often hinders health service seeking and conceals the presence of mental health problems. The lack of access to health care services has a negative effect on the mental well-being of many Somalis.
The Lack of Jobs
One of the major factors that contributes to poverty in Somalia is the lack of jobs. In fact, the unemployment rate in Somalia is one of the highest rates in the world and has caused a lot of people to leave the country and live abroad.
This is especially true for young people who are often unable to find a job in their country and therefore have no way of paying for their basic needs. This results in them relying on bartering or selling their goods, which is harmful to their health and mental well-being.
Despite the harsh reality of poverty in Somalia, many people do still have hope that they can one day overcome this and lead a better life for themselves. This is why so many nonprofit organizations have worked so hard to try and give back to the people of Somalia.
The government of Somalia has made it a priority to reduce the high unemployment rate in the country and is working on ways to create more jobs for the local population. However, the government faces many challenges and has to work on a variety of factors in order to achieve this goal.
One of these factors is the government’s failure to develop a robust entrepreneurship sector in the country. This has prevented many small business ventures from developing and generating jobs for the youth of Somalia. Fortunately, some international organizations are working on this issue by supporting entrepreneurship and creating job opportunities for the youth of Somalia.