Somalia: Hope For a Bright Future

Published on 1st March 2017

With the completion of a gruelling presidential election in my country Somalia, 2017 might be the most defining moment in our history as a country. After the election process, Mr. Mohamed Farmajo, the US technocrat stunned both friend and foe by capturing the presidency in a dramatic and peaceful victory. Indeed, It is clear that the majority of Somalis have given the clearest signal to our parliamentarians to take back the control of Mogadishu.

As a former Ambassador to Burundi and presidential candidate, I traversed large swathes of Somalia and met with many people across the land during my career and campaign. I observed very heated debates in the country and appreciated how passionate people felt about the issues they hold so dear in our country. Obviously, there are disappointments felt by those for whom the results did not go the way they had hoped and that is the nature of democratic systems anywhere in the world.

Be that as it may, no one in Somalia can deny that the election of President Farmajo captured the collective mood, ambition and the eternal will of the Somali people, including those in the Diaspora. I believe now more than ever before, that now is the time to move forward together as a nation and embrace the opportunities that lie ahead. I am further pleased that these are the exact sentiments that President Farmajo underscored in his victory speech.

He signalled from the onset that his presidency will mark a new turning point for Somalia and reiterated his deep resolve not to tolerate administrative corruption in his new government, a cancer that has ravaged past Somalia administrations.

For our country to develop, it needs to build its economy and this can only be done by slaying the dragon of corruption, creating a climate of peace and security, increasing revenue base, and attracting investors locally and internationally. This victory offers an opportunity for Mr. Farmajo to safeguard the sovereignty of Somalia and bring in technocrats to the cabinet to rebuild our broken national institutions.

People of Somalia are asking for direction and focused leadership. They want their children to go to public schools, have jobs and pay a decent salary to our armed forces and public servants. The new Presidents will need the International community's support to the tune of at least $25 billion over the next four years to deliver on building economic infrastructures, security, schools, hospitals, and important institutions in Somalia. These are challenging times, and resources are stretched. But the International community must understand that this is a down payment on global security - because peace and security are shared goals for all of us. There will be difficult days and the road ahead will be long. The single greatest threat to that future Somalia comes from Al-Shabab and their extremist allies and that is why the international community must stand firmly with President Farmajo's leadership to root out terrorism and build result oriented intuitions in Somalia.

By Abshir Hassan

Former Ambassador and Member of Parliament, Former Presidential Candidate of Somalia.

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