Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was an unexpected choice for the job of taking Somalia out of its long and self-perpetuating period of ‘transitional’ government. Far from being a Somali warlord, he had spent most of the last 20 years playing a leading role in civil society conflict resolution. An Accord 21 author for Conciliation Resources, he is interviewed here by the issue's co-editor, Sally Healy.
In the aftermath of the February 2012 London Conference on Somalia, Sally Healy – Accord 21 editor and a Fellow of the Rift Valley Institute – offers her personal assessment of the conference, its likely impact and the complex challenges ahead. Featuring insight from Mohamed Abdi Aynte, Mark Bradbury, Al-Hadi and Ken Menkhaus, this comment piece, concludes that "There are no risk-free options for Somalia. It is ever more obvious that Somalis, not foreigners, have to lead on the solutions."
Can the London conference on Somalia succeed this time where others have failed? After a year in which large swathes of Somalia have been hit by famine and continued war, and international militarisation has markedly increased, the UK government’s initiative to host an international conference on Somalia on 23 February is welcome. But lessons must be learnt from past mistakes. Ahead of the conference, Mark Bradbury makes the case that support should be given to local Somali-led solutions that promote legitimacy and participation.