Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I rarely, if ever, hear any feel-good stories about Somalia. At war with itself for the last 20 years, the country is frequently pointed to as the most spectacular of all the failed states in the world. The capital city of Mogadishu has borne the brunt of the civil strife. For years now people have fled the war-torn city as battling warlords have reduced it to rubble. But Jeffrey Gettleman reports that the city is undergoing a rebirth of sorts. Roughly eight months after the ruthless Shabab Islamist group was pushed out of the city, old residents are trickling back, slowly rebuilding and setting up small businesses. In fact, returning emigrants, and the foreign currency that they bring with them, have created such demand for housing and products that prices are skyrocketing. The local currency (which, ironically, still has value despite not being backed by a central bank!) has seen its value against the dollar rise by about a third in six months. This economic success is heartwarming but there is something even more important to the war weary citizens: African Union troops have finally returned has some semblance of security to this once beautiful coastal city. And there might be more good news coming. Large reserves of oil have recently been found in the northeastern part of the country. Here’s hoping that oil revenues bring sustained peace, and not renewed fighting.
- Read more about it here: NYTimes and The Economist