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Vol 40 No 19

Published 24th September 1999


Building blocks

Reconstructing the state step-by-step is showing results - but outsiders stay sceptical

Countless peace conferences have failed to pacify Somalia, including the latest, in Cairo in December 1997, whose collapse seemed to condemn the country to yet more clan wars and freelance banditry. Yet lately, it has seemed that some warlords, at least, are losing their power. Local administrations can offer internal peace, relative economic success and an incentive for others to follow, as in the unrecognised Republic of Somaliland and in Puntland in the north. More than half the aid given to Somalia goes to these two northern areas, which have only a third of the total population. There is money to be made in other parts of Somalia but no one puts it into houses or hotels, as they do in Hargeisa and Bossaso.

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