President Muse Sets Conditions for Development?
Author: Mohamed Ubo
Sacrificed his life for the oppressed innocent civilians in the liberation struggle of the 1980s that ended the dark chapters of the Somaliland history at the downfall of the Siyad Bare regime in 1991, would the president make the necessary liberation on remodeling good governance and enhancing government capacity to deliver on its mandates to enjoy inclusive growth? Is it possible to form development agencies with a private sector mindset to fast-track economic development? Who would educate the citizens that African elections revolve along tribal, ethnic, language and religious lines with 3000 distinct ethnic groups and 2000 languages to reduce post-election tensions? Would the president lead by example to question the blind culture that impedes what makes a country great? Without recognition, how do Taiwanese citizens manage to enter 166 countries without a visa?
Would it be possible to eliminate administrative procedures that facilitate corruption, fraud and embezzlement? Would the government foster public sector accountability and transparency to combat corruption? Good government knows the ‘how’? Would the president select people who are competent on the ‘how’ rather than ‘what’? Those questions would stimulate both the president and the public to think creatively and critically to reduce economic cost of bad governance and uncover the economic potentials.
Empirical evidence and experience suggest that bad governance and corruption undermine state capacity to deliver public services, victimize the poor, produce weak civil society, create economic marginalization among the regions, intensify social grievances, increase unpredictability, and weaken domestic and foreign investments which on balance bring government failure and state decay.
Therefore, good governance matters and good political governance is prerequisite for good governance. Good economic governance matters, because good economic outcomes are derived from good economic governance. Thus, shaping international reputation for good governance is ideal like that of Taiwan and Botswana—to make a model of freedom and prosperity.
The recent 2017 Mo Ibrahim Index of African governance shows that Mauritius once more took the top overall position with a score of 84.1, followed by Seychelles 73.7, and Botswana 72.7 out of a score of 100. Report shows that for the past 10 years, about 40 African countries improved in their overall governance. Ibrahim Index of African governance is an analysis by Mo Ibrahim Foundation aimed at improving the level of governance of Africa with these fourteen parameters: Rule of Law, Accountability, Personal Safety, National Security, Participation, Rights, Gender Issues, Public Management, Business Environment, Infrastructure, Rural Sector, Social Welfare, Education, and Health. If we zoom in the Somaliland governance, it is headache. Would the President liberate these parameters from the shackles in the coming years?
Corruption is power plus domination minus transparency—where there is a corruption: there is bad political governance along with weak and ineffective public institutions. A government must keep the trust between people and government through transparency in the sense that every action is transparent: defining, identifying, and classifying corruption. Nigerians state: “corruption is not just endemic but an integral part of the social fabric of life” All across Africa, most governments have failed to combat corruption. Would the religion and morality play a role in curbing corruption? Why religious countries have higher corruption and least religious countries like Denmark, Finland, and Sweden are the least corrupt in the world?
Bono says: “the worst disease in the world today is corruption; and there is a cure: transparency.” Transparency International ranks Africa in the lowest in its corruption perception index in every year—the worst are in Sub-Saharan Africa including Somalia which scored 9 out of 100 in 2017 (0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean). Many initiatives against corruption have ended up engineering extra gateways for corruption—there should be a change in both theoretical prospective and methodological approach.
Only 34% of rural Africa has access to road (African Development Bank, 2010). The incumbent should be committed to expanding road networks to reduce the distance between urban and rural, and those between cities, so to speak. Thanks to former president of Somaliland Mr. Siilaanyo—he constructed the desperately demanded roads which were rough and tiring: increased access to health, education, market and other services. The construction of the road from Hargeisa to Borama has reduced the distance from 4 hours to only 2 hours now. Similarly his government has reduced the distance from Hargeisa to Wajale, from Buroa to Erigavo, from Hargeisa to Salahley, from Hargeisa to Baligubadle, and from Hargeisa to Ceelsheekh, in partnership with local communities.
Despite failing most of the global indexes in every year, would the President diminish the distance between Hargeisa and Djibouti, the distance between Hargeisa and Alaybaday, distance between Erigavo and Badhan, and the distance between Hargeisa and Oodweyne? Somaliland has the resources to do that. Taiwan has realized its growth from resource Poor Island to a regional economic power house. And development is not a matter of time and term but a matter of what you do and how you do it. For example, both Ghana and Malaysia gained independence from Britain in 1957—the same year: now Ghana is among the poorest while Malaysia is a fast-developing-country.
In conclusion: With the focus on pulling many out of the poverty trap, improve the soft infrastructure—institutions and build better road networks as national projects to raise the country’s GDP. With your advisors, stimulate monetary and fiscal transparency: creating watchdogs with the involvement of civil society, media and the private sector. Set inclusive policies for political and economic stability—expanding opportunities at all levels: rural and remote areas—clean water and affordable housing in the cities. Set benchmarks and set policies along assessing its possible economic, political and social implications—find the potential economic drivers and uphold the ownership of the country’s development agenda. To liberate Somaliland from poverty, fight with all bad “excuses” and ensure that your institutions are not only busy but productive. And before initiating any development project, assess the “integrity” and “delivery capacity” of your institutions (!)