Failures in Somalia
Good Governance, Political Conflict

Twenty Years of Collapse and Counting: The Cost of Failure in Somalia

Author(s): John Norris, Bronwyn Bruton
Date: September 19, 2011
Publication Type: Research Report
Research Topics: Good Governance, Political Conflict

Overview:

This paper explores the staggeringly high costs of the crises response rather than the crises prevention approach by looking at the case of Somalia. The research tries to determine, using a variety of official and unofficial sources and some educated guesswork, a reasonable estimate of the financial cost of Somali's conflict since 1991. The paper is a strong attempt in determining the money spent on Somalia by the international community, regional actors, and the Somali diaspora, regardless of the specific intentions of spending and whether these expenditures were sensible and effective or not. However, the profound lack of reliable data and the enormous variance in the economic and political standing of Somalia’s regions made it more difficult to compile necessary information.

Key Findings:

  1. Failed states are rare but incredibly expensive and disruptive especially in the case of Somalia. Figures in this study make clear that the reverberations of a state unraveling are felt well beyond specific security concerns about counter terrorism and can play out in unforeseen way. 
  2. A surprisingly wide number of actors bear these costs because no one group of actors have 'owned the crisis'. 
  3. Somalia needs the right kind of aid with smarter interventions.
  4. Failed states need comprehensive and locally appropriate solutions.

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