The World Bank has announced a formal normalization of relations with the Federal Government of Somalia, which were abruptly cut off after the government collapse in 1991 and Somalia’s descent into a protracted civil war. In an official communiqué, the World Bank justified this decision as “based on the solid work of the [Somali] government in matters of fiscal, political, social, and economic reforms in these past years.” Earlier in February, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund announced that Somalia’s fiscal and monetary efforts made it eligible for multilateral debt relief programs as well as granting access to funding from the World Bank’s International Development Association.
Why It Matters
Somalia is slowly recovering from its civil war that wrecked the country and plunged it into deep economic crisis, with attendant droughts, famine, and mass impoverishment. Though the war proper is over, perpetual violence from the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabab has continued to take a toll, with two of the deadliest terrorist attacks in Somalia’s history occurring in just the last year. Financial assistance from the World Bank will help Somalia further stabilize itself, to, perhaps, be able to weather terrorist violence while also discouraging poor Somalis from joining Al-Shabab as economic conditions improve.
Somalia is also expected to hold its first one-person, one-vote elections this year following President Mohammed Abdullahi Farmajo’s ratification of a bill that will remove the existing clan-based power-sharing model. Improved economic fortunes will reinvest citizens’ trust in the Somali government, encouraging greater electoral participation and thus facilitating Somalia’s democratic reform efforts. A stronger economy and electoral success could also help convince the autonomous province of Puntland not to break away and breakaway Somaliland to consider reunification.