#Somalia: Progress or Peril with Nicholas Kay @Somalia111 @USIP

On 22 April 2014 I was able to attend the United States Institute for Peace event Somalia: Progress or Peril headlined by Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay. I took a few brief notes on it which I figured I would share. Kay opened his speaking by stating that he had a good finger on the pulse of the situation there as he had traveled with the Somali President during his journey to the presidential office.

  • The term “Failed State” was created for Somalia. Despite its moniker, Somalia takes in $120 million a year in government revenue. The Port of Mogadishu brings in $10 million a year. Last year it was only $5 million. Kay stated that they were more hopeful in September 2012 and corruption seems now more prevalent. What has changed? “We put on our ‘realist’ hat.”
  • Kat said one of the biggest problems is there is not enough helicopters. AMISOM has no military helicopters and they specifically need helicopters as Al-Shabaab blockades roads
  • 2016 national Democratic election. Have vision 2016 plan with tight time table and no slippage room.
  • Despite perils we keep to the plan. We have a very good plan. “We stick to plan A”
  • If we miscalculate the security situation and the UN gets hit bad I fear of UN withdrawal.
  • Al Shabaab “Rehabilitation Centers” exist to bring militants back into the fold. Though there must be more efforts to expand them.
  • Since March 2014 we have 7 weeks of Operations by AMISOM clearing Al Shabaab. We now have 10 population centers liberated. The objective is to train locals for forces re rule of law instead of deploying personnel from Mogadishu.
  • Somalis love conversation and are well suited for solving issues through political discourse.
  • Somalia is particularly good at executing last minute “up to the wire” objectives
  • Finally Kay was very hopeful and elaborated by saying “we know how to do this […] many of these things were learned elsewhere in Afghanistan, DRC”. “The international community has a lot of collective experience helping countries recover from conflict.”

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