Currently, Somalia receives a great deal of foreign aid from not only the African Union but also western countries as well. The United States has been at the forefront of this effort to stabilize and improve Somalia’s economy. A major reason for the United States investment and support is because Somalia is home to one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in Al- Shabaab. The United States increase in foreign aid directly correlates with the growing relationship between the Government of Somalia and Western powers; the continued partnership and counter terrorism efforts have also made it much easier for the United States to provide further financial assistance.
In addition to the United States, the government of Somalia receives significant foreign aid from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Japan and Turkey along with many other countries. The majority of foreign aid that is given to Somalia and the major reason for the international community’s economic involvement is due to a humanitarian response. Somalia just recently is coming out of a devastating internal war that caused the collapse of the central government resulting in Somalia becoming a failed state for a short period of time before being given an interim government. Despite all of this internal strife, Somalia’s economy could be worse off. The economy is primarily dependent on livestock and fisheries and the real cause of the economy’s fragile state is due to the lack of security, resources, and poor infrastructure. This is difficult to improve with the strong presence of violent extremism that exists. All of this causes Somalia’s economy to be fairly informal and inconsistent. Besides agriculture, Somalia depends on construction and telecommunication to assist in the stabilization of its economy.
Due to its history, Somalia is in need of foreign aid because it is not able to raise enough domestic revenue. It is important to note, the degree of military aid that is also given to Somalia as this accounts for the majority of the financial assistance that is given by the international community. The United States along with other states are most interested in providing stability through the sense of human security and support. Somalia will not be able to substantially improve its economy and become less dependent on foreign aid until the central government is able to prove its internal stability and the safety/health of its citizens. This philosophy is echoed by international organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations, and USAID where financial aid is first and foremost used for humanitarian purposes and not economic development.
Although in the readings we have noted the issue with Africa becoming aid dependent, in the case of Somalia foreign aid is absolutely necessary. This is because of Somalia’s history of violence/instability and the vulnerability of its government to violent extremism. Somalia needs financial assistance to stabilize its economy and avoid being a failed state. This foreign aid will most likely continue even as the humanitarian issues begin to become less prevalent. Somalia will need assistance to build its infrastructure and other parts of its domestic economy before becoming more economically dependent. For these reasons, Somalia welcomes foreign aid and is not as threatened by the possible long-term consequences.