Lee Cassanelli identifies in private sector-led economic recovery the potential to alter Somalia’s current political trajectory through entrepreneurship and economic development. He questions the international focus on politics and statebuilding as prerequisites for economic recovery and suggests focusing instead on Somalis as economic actors and building on what they do best — responding to economic opportunities.
The Somali business community has played an important role in Somalia’s recent troubled history: at some points hindering efforts at reconciliation by ﬁnancing warlords and their militias; at others working with local activists and NGOs seeking to establish peace.
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Business and reconstruction
Economic factors underlie much of the recent conflict in Somalia. Rival factions continually struggle to control land, natural resources and ports of trade which generate revenue.
Business, war and peace
The Somali business community has played an important role in Somalia’s recent troubled history: at some points hindering efforts at reconciliation by financing warlords and their militias; at others working with local activists and NGOs seeking to establish peace. Somali businesspeople have also supported Shari’a courts.
A new generation of businessmen and women
There are several reasons why the business sector may posses the potential to bring a new dynamic to the Somali situation.
Given these many obstacles, it may appear that Somalia’s economic entrepreneurs have little chance of altering the current political trajectory in Somalia. However, if the limited economic recovery led by the private sector continues to expand to include more of the region’s inhabitants, more people will find an alternative to the economy of predation and may come to have a stake in the predictable and peaceful flow of goods and services.