Somalia economy stronger than others in Africa, UN-backed meeting says

Busy waterfront and lively marketplace in northern coastal city of Bossaso

29 January 2008 – Despite 17 years of crisis in Somalia, the economy there is stronger than that of many countries in Africa in terms of gross domestic product and imports and exports, participants at a United Nations-backed meeting held in Dubai said today.

In a final declaration adopted at the end of the meeting organized by the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), business people from Africa and the Middle East, personalities from Europe and the United States and members of the Somali business community acknowledged economic stagnation in the country, which has not had a functioning government since the fall of Siad Barre's regime in 1991 and where fighting has intensified in recent months.

But they said Somalia's economy could be boosted through livestock and livestock products, agriculture, money transfer, telecommunications, infrastructure, oil and gas, mining, transport and even tourism, according to a news release from UNPOS.

The non-Somali participants “expressed their readiness to consider ways and means to encourage the Somalis to follow a 'critical path' that will lead to the stability necessary for political, economic and social development,” the Office said.

The meeting requested UNPOS to impress upon the parties in Somalia to put the interests of the country before other interests, and work towards the return of peace and security.

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