On May 16, the people of Somalia elected a new President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The election was the culmination of a long and much delayed process, with the country governed by a President whose four-year stint in office had expired in February 2021.
“The United States congratulates the people of Somalia on the conclusion of their national electoral process. We also congratulate Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on his election as the president of the Federal Republic of Somalia and look forward to working closely with him and the new government,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Four years of political infighting have resulted in the neglect of critical issues. For Somalia to thrive, the national government and federal member states must quickly reconcile and together tackle the vital challenges facing Somalia. Two problems in particular must be addressed post haste, said U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
The first is the need to eliminate the danger posed by the Al Shabaab terrorist organization.
“Somalia’s security, and the security of the region, rely on us using every tool in our arsenal to fight terrorism. That means providing support to [the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia, or] ATMIS. It means using the Somalia sanctions regime to designate al-Shabaab operatives who continue to threaten Somalia’s peace and security. And it means alleviating the horrific humanitarian conditions that inspire extremism.”
The second deadly challenge the new government must address is the impending humanitarian disaster caused by the worst drought in four decades, affecting over 6 million Somalis; by sky-rocketing food prices; and by Russia’s brutal war of choice against Ukraine, which continues to prevent wheat and other foods from reaching Somalia, and may push the country into famine.
“[In April], the United States announced more than $200 million in additional assistance to respond to humanitarian needs in the Horn of Africa,” said Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield.
“Tied directly to the humanitarian situation is Somalia’s economic well-being, which will depend on its ability to meet the conditions required for reaching completion point under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative,” she said.
“Somalia now has an opportunity to focus on the political, economic, and security reforms necessary to advance the interests of the people of Somalia,” said Secretary Blinken. “The United States looks forward to … partnering with Somalia’s leaders to achieve our shared goal of a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous Somalia.”