By Dr. Suleiman Walhad
December 1st, 2022
We are about to close the year 2022. Today is the first day of the last month of the year and we find the Horn of Africa States position in world rankings still at the bottom of nations and at the bottom of regions. Clearly, something is not right. Is it to do with the people or its leadership? Is it to do with foreign interferences or is it endemic, that the region and its people cannot advance a step forward for over some three decades?
Most of the countries and regions of the world have moved on over these past decades and for the better in most cases but those major issues that characterize this Horn of Africa States region remain the same and unchanged. There is hunger and starvation, there are civil strives and conflicts, mainly political, there is ethnic competition and there is chronic insecurity in the region, and hence foreign interferences. How would a subsistence farmer either tending to his his/her small holding or his few animals, work, when his/her security or those of his children and neighbors at stake every hour of the day. No wonder there is hunger, and of course there are wars and conflicts and there are then the bad politicians and henceforth the bad leaders.
There is a great need for the region to extract itself from this bad position it finds itself if it has to climb up the ladder of human development. There are a number of things the region can do, and this mostly depends on the leadership of the region adopting them.
- Increase goodwill among countries of the region and henceforth create stability in the region. That they are working together, would create an environment, where local mercenaries and hence foreign ones would not find space to generate fear and distrust among the countries and people of the region. This would then lead to peace within each country, where there is no need for armed opposition groups hiding in other countries of the region. Attention would be only made to foreign forces that have malicious interests in the region.
- Know that the so-called international community cannot and will not create stability or peace in the region. It is only the people and leadership of the region that can create such peace and stability. The governments of the region should be working together as a team in this regard and not as unguided free missiles without aim or target.
- Hunger and food shortages only occur when there is no peace or stability. Should there be peace and stability, farmers will tend to their farms and pastoralists will tend to their animals and the food crisis will be lessened. Famines, that are mostly due to human activities, will be out of the way and food production will increase. There are no food shortages in most of the stable regions within the Horn of Africa States, despite the absence of farming or sizeable agriculture.
- The region should address all regional issues as a regional block. They can negotiate with the so-called international community in terms of all the restrictions made on the region, which keeps the region stunted and underdeveloped. Many of these restrictions are designed for individual countries so that concessions may be extracted from them. By teaming up, such restrictions will not work and those pushing it would stand back and/or at least better terms may be negotiated with those who have interest in the wealth and strategic location of the region.
- So much propaganda is made on the region portraying it as a helpless region that cannot rise from its current state. It is on the onus of the leaders and community leaders to disprove them and show that the region can and will climb up the ladder of development and sit at the table of nations as a normal region.
The region is generally presented as one of the most helpless societies burdened with hunger and starvation, terrorism, and civil conflicts, and that it should be assisted on humanitarian grounds, when actually, its wealth is being sought through unscrupulous means including but not limited to the begging state the region is painted. This humanitarian mission which the international community presents is as false as it can be. It only justifies the involvement of many countries in the affairs and governments of each of the countries of the region. They consider this as a strategic gateway into the region and the region’s leadership should not allow them.