Somalia’s instability has largely been attributed to violent extremism and the Al Shabaab. However, this is not the main contributor to violence and strife in the horn of Africa country. In fact, Somalia’s instability is as a result of three distinct factors: Communal conflicts, Political conflicts, and Violent Extremism. Of all the above, communal conflicts account for the most violence which mainly stems from clan rivalries and territorial battles over land and resources, leading to sporadic and continuous retaliatory attacks.
It is however the Al Shabaab that takes all the brunt for unrest in Somalia. Not only because of their brutality and inhumane actions towards Somali citizens, but also across the borders in the neighbouring countries. Their ideology is considered a threat to international peace and stability and therefore marks them as a global threat to freedom. In this regard, the government of Somalia and all international stakeholders must undertake five critical reforms to ensure stability in Somalia.
Security reforms: Somalia ranks seventh in the world in terms of the highest impact of terrorism, so security reforms are vital for protecting citizens and ensuring territorial integrity.
State capacity and effectiveness: Building an effective and non-corrupt state, with strong rule of law and an effective public administration that successfully delivers basic public goods and services is critical for nation-building.
Domestic resource mobilization: Mobilizing domestic revenues and thus reducing reliance on foreign aid is critical to accomplishing the above goals. In addition, when citizens pay taxes, they demand more accountability.
Economic reforms: Young people represent more than 70 percent of Somalia’s population, and the unemployment rate is as high as 67 percent. So economic reforms, especially those aimed at creating jobs for young people, are key to avoid vulnerability to violent extremism, especially where over 50 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. More economic freedom, increased agricultural productivity, diversification, industrialization are key.
Accountability: Since Somalia is heterogeneous and fractured along ethnic, clan, and cultural lines, an inclusive and accountable government is vital for peace.
While some of the above measures are already being implemented, more effort needs to be put and more resources allocated to the rebuilding of a country and a society that has been ravaged by war and strife for decades. The challenge now lies with the leadership of Somalia to do what is best for their citizenry.