There seems to be a bit of a contradiction in the final communique. On the one hand, it states in bold type that decisions on Somalia’s future “rest with the Somali people”. On the other it talks about outsiders taking some control of the government’s budget, through a Joint Financial Management Board.
Doubtless there has been progress today in the fight against al-Shabab and piracy. The delegates made it clear that the time for political transition is over. But Somalia may be entering another phase of violence and instability, this time between its regions, many of which have their own governments.
There were no fewer than four Somali presidents at the conference, one representing the transitional federal government, the others the more stable regions in the north. And outside the conference there were no less than three small but noisy demonstrations, all shouting and singing for different causes. This suggests that peace and unity may be still be a distant dream.