By Fidel Amakye Owusu

1. Many years after Somalia was plunged into a vicious cycle of violence, it was almost always among the countries at the bottom of global security rankings.

2. While the end of the Cold War resulted in some stability for many African states, the Horn of Africa country found itself in turmoil with many of its industrious citizens leaving the country and settling elsewhere.

3. It was eventually tagged as a failed state. Arms and drug traffickers used it as a corridor for their illicit activities in Africa. Later, it became a hub of one of the most dangerous maritime piracies in the world. Before that, its government was exiled. Al-Shabaab, had emerged from the chaos and eventually pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda.

4. And so what?

5. After consistently and closely monitoring the different security situations across Africa in 2023, I will choose Somalia as my country of the year for physical security. The country appears to do almost everything right to stop insecurity. This is not to say Somalia is the most secure place in Africa.

6. What has Mogadishu done right? ??

7. Firstly, the consistency with which security planners in the country have made inclusivity a security factor has been impressive and helpful. The military and other security forces are fighting together clan militias to the detriment of al-Shabaab. This has increased territorial and operational advantages.

8. Furthermore, the ability of the Somali government to cooperate and coordinate with regional and international actors in ensuring security has been exceptional. Mogadishu has worked with US and Turkish forces and support to achieve significant military objectives.

9. At the regional level, Somalia has coordinated with AU forces in fighting insurgents. Despite setbacks, the general outcome has been good. More importantly, the country has enhanced its security profile by improving relations with its most consequential neighbor, Kenya. This month, Somalia joined the East African Community. This is strategically good for its security.

10. Notably, at the time some countries in the West African Sahel were ending UN missions within their territories, Mogadishu went the opposite way by asking for an extension of the mission in Somalia. That was positive.

11. In recent months and weeks, coordinated operations have annihilated many al-Shabaab and ISIS commanders and fighters in the country.

12. Despite these successes and potential, Somalia is not there yet. Consistency and unity will be a sine qua non to consolidating the gains. Relations with Ethiopia could be improved for the better. Also, talks with “autonomous” Somaliland should be prioritized.

13. Authorities in Mogadishu should concurrently prioritize socio-economic development while fighting extremists. The growing youthful population needs that.

By Fidel Amakye Owusu – International Relations and Security Analyst and Writer

Article Reproduced with Permission from Fidel Amakye Owusu

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