Yesterday and today, Turkey has been hosting an international conference on Somalia in Istanbul entitled “Preparing Somalia’s Future: Goals for 2015.” The conference is a sequel to one held in Turkey in 2010, and a sequel of sorts to the London conference on Somalia held earlier this year.
Here is a description from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website:
On the first day of the Conference, four Partnership Forums will be held on the topics of “Water”, “Energy“, “Road” and “Resilience” with the participation of bureaucrats, experts and businessmen. Conclusions of Partnership Forums are planned to be reflected in the Declaration of the Conference.
On the second day of the Conference, the opening speeches will be delivered by the Prime Minister of Turkey, the UN Secretary General and the President of Somalia. There will be a discussion with the participation of high level officials on the possible additional steps to conclude the Transition Period that Somali is going through until August 2012. Also, views will be exchanged concerning short and medium term strategies on the Post-Transition Period.
Turkey is of the opinion that solutions to the problems of Somalia can only be found through the recipes that people of Somalia will formulate. In this context, representatives from all segments of the Somali society will have the opportunity to discuss the future of their country and determine the steps that can be taken in the coming period by meeting in Istanbul before the İstanbul Conference.
The official conference description is here.
Here are statements on the conference from the United Kingdom, France, and Italy. United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson is attending the conference, but I have not seen a US State Department statement on the event yet.
What do you think of the conference? What fruits will it yield?
Turkey is genuine player and is flexing its muscles not only in Somalia but throughout Africa. I hope they succeed in their endeavor.
To maximize their Somalia effort, it would be wise if:
1. They follow their money, every cent of it. There are a lot of crooks out there adept in the art of swindling.
2. Don’t do harm. They should not favor one part of Somalia over the rest. Case in point: There are over 1500 ” Somali” students in Turkey thanks to their timely help. Less than 200 of them are from the peaceful Puntland and Somaliland comprising nearly half of the nation. Don’t assume that somalia is only one city. The Istanbul conference was nearly wreaked because they consulted mostly with particular groups. Thankfully, Turkey acknowledged their big mistake. Not again, please. Somalia is Hargaisa, Garowe, Kismsyo, Baidoa, Beletweyn and, yes, our notional capital. All aid, educational, health, security, infrastructure should be equally divvied throughout out otherwise all you’re doing will be seeding future headache.
3. Turkey came to Somalia during the famine. Prevention is better than cure. The hope is that Turkey and the rest, including the Somalis, should think ahead before once again famine strikes.
4. If, come August, the Somalis don’t put in place credible new faces, don’t waste your effort.
Turkey doesn’t have the resources to focus on all of Africa, especially with the Syrian crisis and the constant threat of the entire Middle East blowing up. It’d be more pragmatic to focus on the African nations most important to Turkey and on the important nations.
Hope this will work. 130 millions dollars of UN money embezzled by current government, according to BBC today. Smalia will need new faces and I agree with Ahmed. Sitting on some 130 billion barrels of oil. More trouble ahead.
The World Bank Summary of Financial Diagnostic Assessment of ” Audit Investigative Financial Report 2009-10″ is only telling hand of the truth. The Somali politicians did indeed loot less than $ 200 million dollars. But according to the PM, billions pledged or donated left very little to see and the culprits certainly are not Somalis. On the other hand, Turkey’s involvement is evident even to the blind.
The Solution is to have a transparent joint- committee to oversee where ALL the money goes, and that included auditing the INGO’s. The results will be startling.
Of course Ahmed. How many times we catch NGOs, including the famous ons, stealing $$. Someone telling me the other he got one and sending to hs oversight’s organization.
Perhaps those NGOs will learn some positive lessons from Turkey. They are winning the hearts and minds war.