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Somalia at a critical juncture

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Somalia held indirect presidential elections in May 2022, electing Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, which led to the country's accession to the East African Community (EAC) in December 2023.

The new president's "nomad diplomacy" helped in curbing al-Shabaab, with signs of Somalia transitioning from a failed to a fragile state. However, challenges persist in political, economic, and security domains.

Political uncertainties surrounding Somalia's political system, federal-state relations, and the question of Somaliland's recognition remain major hurdles. Reforming the security sector is crucial, with continued reliance on external military support, and the threat of al-Shabaab persists. Somalia, grappling with chronic poverty, weak economic prospects, and high corruption levels, received debt relief but remains heavily reliant on foreign assistance.

Joining the EAC offers economic opportunities, but Somalia's fragile security situation poses risks. President Mohamud's efforts to strengthen ties with regional neighbours and join the EAC may enhance Somalia's regional leverage and economic prospects. However, the potential security challenges, especially with al-Shabaab's presence, and the lack of robust institutions may hinder growth and stabilisation through trade.

Possible scenarios for Somalia include a long and challenging road toward stabilisation, protracted violence due to al-Shabaab's strategic advantages, and a less likely return to war with potential spillover violence from neighbouring countries or internal conflicts. The country's future hinges on navigating these complex challenges, implementing constitutional changes, and finding viable solutions amid international support and regional engagement.

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Source: GIS reports