Perceptions do not change overnight

By Khadar Dheen Gulled

Perceptions do not change overnight. Last week the Somali Partnership Forum continued the struggle to rebuild the country. Now the world is taking notice. Our national reputation will reflect the efforts we make today.

It takes only seconds to earn a negative image in the world press, and many years to reverse. We are standing now on the other side of a great impasse. Many believed Somalia would never rise again, and today we consider the success of inviting the world to Mogadishu and proudly standing before our accomplishments with promises of the future. Last month, our president renounced his U.S.

citizenship even though Somalia allows dual citizenship, a strong indication of the faith placed in our new government.

In my view, the government deserves unconditional praise in its balance of international stakeholders with the needs of the nation. This is enshrined in our National Development Plan, and validated by our Mutual Accountability Framework.

Validation has returned to us from the strong support from the IMF to expedite Somalia’s debt. We have followed that crucial endorsement with the release of our Poverty Reduction Strategy, completing the road map ahead for both short and long term goals.

Somalia now has the benefit to reflect not only on its own recent past, but that of the many other nations who have tried to rebuild after conflict. The path chosen by the government has been one of international cooperation with institutions, and strict adherence to the rule of law. The government has proven a worthy partner and as a result has achieved support from the IMF and other financial bodies. This is crucial for continued success in other arenas such as social services and youth empowerment. We have listened and we have delivered: the new curriculum to standardize schools in the country has been announced.

The very structure of our relationship with the international community has changed to reflect our efforts at modernizing the state.

No longer will regional authorities speak on behalf of the nation. The new generation of leaders are national in character and think on the basis of national unity. This was once fragile and tenuous but now is a well earned source of pride. If there was any doubt over the direction Somalia is headed, it was effectively dispelled with the re- establishment of the United States embassy in Mogadishu.

Standing on the other side of the seemingly insurmountable odds also gives rise to complacent attitudes. We must be vigilant to not fall into such habits. Myself, I have great faith, from having known intimately the leadership and the new generation of leaders. We can persevere once again, and deliver the Somalia we have all envisioned.

Khadar Dheen Gulled is a Diplomat, Serving Somalia as the Commercial Attache to Pakistan. You can reach him via E-mail: khadar.commercial@gmail.com

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