Monday, May 08, 2017

Is the London Somalia Conference 2017 another imperialist deja vu? By Bashir Goth | Special to Gulf News

Somalis see no reason to trust this week’s conference in London after similar initiatives in the past did little to address the core issues

Published: 19:45 May 8, 2017  

In a deja vu situation that does not excite many Somalis, the United Kingdom announced that it will host a major international conference in London on Thursday, “to accelerate progress on security sector reform and agree the new international partnership needed to keep Somalia on course for increased peace and prosperity by 2020”.

It was in 2012 when the first London Conference on Somalia was held with the declared intention of helping Somalia to transform from a failed state to a stable nation with functioning government institutions. Somalia’s partners pledged millions of dollars for the beleaguered country’s reconstruction, including $77 million (Dh283.2 million) earmarked for rebuilding Somalia’s security forces. A year later, the European Union (EU) also pledged $2.4 billion at a conference in Brussels to enable the conflict-ridden Horn of African nation to stand on its feet.

At the time, the stubborn extremist group, Al Shabab, was quoted to have branded the EU pledges as “Belgian Waffles: Sweet on the outside, but really has not much substance to it”. They also predicted that the funds would remain an unpaid hollow promise or would be lost in corruption.