Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Fragile States: The Case of Somalia, 1992 – 2013
This paper addresses a theoretical gap on Somalia’s reconstruction as a step towards sustainable peace, and discusses the relevance of Post-conflict reconstruction in fragile states in Africa. After twenty three years of armed confrontation, stability in Somalia may not come rapidly, but is to be promoted, nurtured and defended against all sorts of internal and external spoilers. Recovery activities can make a greater contribution to social, economic and cultural development in Somalia, through further investment, continued employment creation and vocational training. The key is to go beyond the present, national and international legacy of two decades of conflict, and equally important is to remain focused on a way out. Overcoming the current hardships and insecurity requires a determined, long-term effort to promote political cooperation and build strong government institutions, while in the short term counter the pervasive influence of foreign fighters and other elements of extremism must be countered, but also that of those profiting from the conflict. This paper seeks to give Somalia ideas on exactly how it plans to reconstruct. As country, Somalia reconstruction after war remains a mystery, despite the promises of ‘African solutions’. In this case, Somalia can use strategies prepared by academicians and economists in the field of post-conflict reconstruction and master the art of reconstruction just like Europe when they used the Marshall Plan. Post-conflict reconstruction is seen as the rebuilding of the socio-economic framework of society and the reconstruction of the enabling conditions for a functioning peacetime society to include the framework of governance and rule of law, justice and reconciliation, and security. Most African states are the most fragile states in the World. Somalia is in second position followed by Central African Republic, DRC, Sudan, Chad, Kenya is ranked eighteenth just behind Nigeria at seventeenth. Ethiopia and Niger tied at the nineteenth spot. Most countries classed as poor and developing fall into the category of fragile states. These states are characterized as failed and fragile states because they have breakdown of law and order, weak or disintegrated capacity to respond to citizens’ needs and desires, provide basic public services, assure citizens’ welfare, or support normal economic activity; and at the international level, and lack of credible entity to represent the state beyond its borders. Most of them reconstruct using the neo-liberalism theory which is premised on a strong belief in promoting the public good by following the principles of the free market and open competition, limited state intervention and welfare, individualistic self-interest, rational utility-maximization and comparative advantage of free trade hence promoting trade. The paper highlights the need for the transformation of the state as a central component of peacebuilding and post-conflict transition in Africa. Drawing on illustrations from the case of Somalia and post war Europe, it explores works on internal state reconstruction and compares it to externally driven statereconstruction projects done by European Union with the New Deal and other Non-governmental organizations plus the example of the 1948 Marshall Plan. The paper also reviews different authors’ thoughts on post-conflict reconstruction as a basis for critiquing ongoing state rehabilitation attempts and urges a return to ‘endogenous initiatives of rebuilding the state from below’ as a condition for achieving a ‘sustainable democratic reconstruction of the state’ in postconflict Africa.