By: Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi
The Somali Republick was a pastoral economy based on ‘exchange’ between nomadic herdsmen and small agriculturalists. Nomadic pastoralists account for 50% of the population. In the mid 1970’s, resettlement programs led to the development of a sizeable sector of commercial pastoralism. Livestock contributed to 80% of the export earnings until 1983, and despite the recurrent droughts still Somali Republic remained virtually self-sufficient in food security.
Somali government reassured agriculture and livestock developments, as it was a national economy backbone.
The public, mainly, consumed the local products and the republic started exporting livestock and meat to abroad. The international community, including world bank and International Monitory Fund – IMF, confirmed that Somali possess enough food reserve.
Unfortunately, Somali Republic applied loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (Bretton Woods Institutions) in order to accelerate its development programs. The debts produced positive results at the initial stage, however, devastation started after the Bretton Woods Institutions dictated policies to Somali government, if not, tight schedule of loan repayment, which was pardon on the republic.
In early 1980’s, Bretton Woods Institutions, directly, interfered in Somali Republic, which contributed an exacerbating the crisis of Somali Agriculture. The institutions imposed economy reforms which undermined the basic concept of the Somali’s economy – ‘exchange’ relationship between the nomadic and agriculture economies. The tight austerity reforms was largely to release the funds required to cover Somali’s debt obligation to the Paris Club.
The programs led the government to take over every urban resource in the country. During this period much of the best agricultural land were managed by bureaucrats, army officers and merchants with connection to the military regime. The Bretton Woods Institutions did not promote the local food production for the domestic market, instead the institutions encouraged the development of free ‘Food Aid’ distribution. The farming business botched, as it failed to payback farmer’s living expenses due to the free ‘food-aid’ distribution.
The urban purchasing power declined dramatically because the available food-aid. The agricultural infrastructure collapsed due to the deregulation of the local grain market and the arrival of the ‘food-aid’. The farming communities completely impoverished at the hands of Bretton Woods Institutions (IMF-World Bank) and majority of the farmers relocated to main cities like Mogadishu to work for the government.
Somali’s military regime led by deceased Mohamed Siyad Barre were less equipped to face the emerging danger from Bretton Woods Institutions, in terms of experience and knowledge. The regime had no alternative against the institutions but to obey their dictations at the expense of the country’s economy.
The manner, in which the regime, handled the 1974 famine, alarmed the institutions of possible food self-sufficiency that the republic could achieve, which will hinder the Aid Operations. The regime, at beginning of 1970’s, was enthusiastic towards helping its people and building better Somali Republic, but without proper regulations and plans. After 1983, the institutions was controlling the food sector until 1991.
The regime was losing the public support due to its wrong policies and people were getting poorer as day passes. In order to remain in power, the regime created own inner circles of his tribesmen who ruled the country ironhanded. The inner circle were corrupted and violated the rights of the other tribes in Somali Republic, such injustice accelerated its fate.
90% of the loan remains unpaid with souring interest rates in last thirty years by World Bank and IMF. Any regime in Mogadishu must obey the institutions or must face austerity loan repayment.
There are ‘Donor Nations’ who are sponsoring the budget of the IMF and World Bank. These nations are enforcing their policies on the poor countries like Somali Republic through the IMF and the World Bank, along with institution’s policies.
Generally, the media, indirectly, contributes in the earnings of the Aid Agents by providing pictures carrying highly inhuman situations, in order to move the hearts of the people. In the horn of Africa, the media focuses on the undeveloped parts of a country unfairly without displaying the developing parts.
In 1983, Somalia’s New Prime Ministers Abdi Farah Shirdon, nicknamed Saaid, was one of the individuals who participated in such conspiracy against Somali Republic and its economy. He joined the Bretton Woods Institutions during the high season, where Somali Republic were brought from self-sufficient to a poor country that survives on ‘food-aid’.
During his service in Institutions, the New Prime Minister formed a company called ‘Shirdon International Ltd’ that delivers readymade food from abroad to all parts of former Somali Republic, particularly, the military regime licensed Shirdon Company to monopolize importing all food materials to the former Northern Western Regions of Somali Democratic Republic (today’s Somaliland). Every elder in Hargiesa, can easily identify the Shirdon Company, who used to bring the rice, sugar and wheat from Djibouti and Arabian Gulf.
Mr. Saaid was part of the plot to bankrupt and impoverish Somali Republic, in order to benefit the ‘Aid Donors’ and their henchmen ‘Aid Agents’. Due to such illegal collaboration between Institutions and citizens like Mr. Saaid, Somali Republic became symbol of hunger and starvation in last 30 years.
Until today, Somalians just like many Africans, perish for starvation. International community delivers millions of tons of ready food under title ‘food-aid’, and nobody thinks of teaching the people how to catch a fish. Somali Republic has long coastline that can cover their need for food.
The hunger and starvation in today’s Somalia is result of a campaign that started mid 1980’s until today.