International attention on Somalia has increased in the past twelve months, in part in reaction to the terrible human consequences of the political and security crisis – combined with drought – that escalated to famine in parts of southern Somalia in mid-2011. The human cost of the crisis continues to be difficult to ignore, and the humanitarian community, reflecting on the avoidable tardiness of the international response, has brought important questions back onto the agenda about how and at what stage in the evolution of a crisis we ought to target our international investments.
In a time of reflection on modes and emphasis of political, security and aid engagement in Somalia, this briefing paper attempts to shed light on the international financial investments in Somalia to date.
Shifts in the dynamics of the complex political and security situation in Somalia have also lent pressure to the case for reconsidering the nature and focus of international engagement in Somalia. The surprise retreat of al-Shabab from Mogadishu in August 2011 allowed a consolidation of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and African Union (AU) peacekeeping presence and a migration of United Nations (UN) political presence to Mogadishu. Kenya and Ethiopia have also deployed troops into Somalia, pushing al-Shabab back from border areas. The opportunities to build on this momentum have been seized in a new joint UN-AU Strategic Concept for the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in January 2012, which proposes a major ramping up of boots on the ground from 12,000 to over 17,700 troops.