Somalia’s new government needs to hit the ground running. Fighting the Al-Shabaab terrorist group and the ongoing severe drought is the most pressing task.
Prime Minister Hamsa Abdi Barre unveiled a 26-member cabinet on Tuesday, August 2, adding a former deputy Al-Shabaab leader Mukhtar Robow to the list. Robow is the new minister of religion.
If the government-designate wins the parliament’s approval, it should prioritize the following key issues.
1 – Security and war on Al-Shabaab
Security is the biggest burden and it is an assignment that will test the power of the government as PM Hamsa promised that he will give the first priority to dealing with insecurity and the war on Al-Shabaab, according to the experts.
2 – Economy
Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world, with the 2012 Human Development Index putting it among the five least-developed of 170 countries. The poverty rate is currently 73 percent.
The insecurity and recurrent droughts as well as conflict, and bad governance are the main factors of the lack of economy. The government is not in full control of money management and markets.
The Horn of Africa country is one of the top recipients of aid in the world, with over $55 billion received since 1991, according to people familiar with the financial affairs. This has resulted from a gross lack of accountability for donations.
The government relies on taxes from Mogadishu airport and seaport as other regions are out of its control. Al-Shabaab collects tax from businesses in entire areas under the control of the government and regional states.
The new government needs to coordinate and manage the current inflation and obtain a budget independent of the grants of the International Community.
3 – Humanitarian
In recent years, Somalia has faced difficult conditions in terms of life, millions of pastoralists and farmers have lost their livelihoods due to the endless droughts in the country.
The locusts, the Covid-19, and the ongoing war in Ukraine caused food shortages, according to the United Nations. This further complicated the humanitarian crisis in Somalia.
The President of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who started his term of office as Somalia faces numerous challenges, said that he will deal with humanitarian issues. Shortly after assuming power in June, Mohamud appointed Abdirahman Abdishakur, a former opposition leader as his special envoy for the drought response.
4 – Genuine Reconciliation
Somalia wants political and clan reconciliation to move forward and achieve national priorities. The clans and political elites are not united and at peace with each other. This, if not resolved, would be a major setback for PM Hamza’s new government.