Future of Somalia conference opens in Turkey

AL JAZEERA

Somalia needs a global reconstruction effort to back up ongoing stabilisation efforts and stop the Horn of Africa’s 20-year descent into chaos, leaders said at the start of a meeting in Turkey.

Representatives from 54 countries gathered in Istanbul on Thursday to find a path towards a better future for a country that was the reason the term “failed state” was coined two decades ago.

“After a long period of instability and conflict, we now have ahead of us an opportunity for genuine peace and security,” Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said at the opening of the Second Istanbul Conference on Somalia.

He said the capital Mogadishu – where pro-government forces have largely driven out Islamist fighters – was now open for business and called for a broad international reconstruction effort.

The two-day conference – which follows a London meeting in February – kicked off with discussions among senior officials, experts and businessmen on four key issues: water, energy, roads and sustainability.

On Friday, the conference will turn its attention to the political dimension of aid to Somalia, with the participation of UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Somali President Sharif Ahmed, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as British Foreign Secretary William Hague.  Read more…

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