In the last decade, Somalia has undergone a remarkable transformation. Labelled for many years as a failed state, the country in the Horn of Africa has witnessed the establishment of a federal system of governance and related institutions, as well as two peaceful transfers of power since 2012. These developments should have culminated in a long awaited one person, one vote election in 2020, replacing the old clan-based power-sharing model.
Nevertheless, the country also continues to suffer tremendously from insecurity, violent religious extremism, competing clan interests, corruption and poor governance. These aspects of life in Somalia are also those that receive the most attention internationally. Yet, Somalia is much more nuanced than its reputation, with an active and motivated citizenry working to shape their country’s future.
Various organisations successfully promote peace and support the marginalised sectors of society in Somalia. The Elman Peace Centre implements programmes such as Drop the Gun, Pick Up the Pen that has led to the disarmament, rehabilitation and reintegration of thousands of former child soldiers, or Sister Somalia, the country’s first network of rape crisis centres for sexual and gender-based violence survivors. The Berghof Foundation supports networks of local peacebuilders and organises community dialogue assemblies with the aim of strengthening people’s capacity to become active for the peaceful transformation of their country.
How is the reconciliation process evolving in Somalia? What are the challenges to holding a general election in the country? What can be done to bring the positive achievements of Somalia into the international spotlight? How can Germany and the international community contribute as partners in these developments?
These questions were at the heart of the panel discussion, to which the Berghof Foundation and the German Africa Foundation cordially invited.
David Schwake, Secretary General, German Africa Foundation
Ilwad Elman, Director of Programs, Ilwad Elman Centre
Janel B. Galvanek, Head of Unit, Sub-Saharan Africa, Berghof Foundation
Dr Thorsten Hutter, Head of the East Africa Division, German Foreign Office
Andrew Gilmour, Executive Director, Berghof Foundation