London conference aims to speed Somalia recovery


On Tuesday world leaders will gather in London to try and coordinate efforts to support the precious security gains that have been made in recent months.

British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, re-opened the British Embassy in Mogadishu this month, further narrowing the gap between Mogadishu and London and making his country the first Western nation to claim a fixed diplomatic presence in Somalia in 22 years.

SOUNDBITE 1, William Hague (man), British Foreign Secretary (English, 19 sec.): That we are able to reopen it today is testimony to the progress Somalia has made in the last few years. It's a symbol of our enduring commitment to the future of Somalia.

Major advances have been made on both land and sea. The Islamist Al-Shebab militants are in retreat, and and though sporadic attacks continue, the country is more peaceful than it was.

Bakaara Market here in Mogadishu was controlled by Al-Shebab for years. Kalashnikov rifles, machine guns and hand grenades were sold from rickety wooden stands, and militants used it as a cover from which to launch attacks. Now, the shops have been renovated, and the weapons for sale replaced with building materials, clothing and fruit.

Key to Somalia's economic recovery is the country's ports -- Somalia's coastline is the longest in Africa. A massive renovation project and downturn in piracy has boosted business here at the port of Mogadishu by 20% from the same time last year.

SOUNDBITE 2, Abdullahi Nur (man), Port Director (Somali, 10 sec.): "The piracy is now low, and we've seen that more ships now have the courage to bring their business to Mogadishu port."

For much of the last decade, young Somalis have wreaked havoc among Indian Ocean shipping, seizing vessels and their crews. But improved security and greater use of armed guards on ships has brought about a drastic reduction in attacks from 176 in 2011 to 36 in 2012.

With the unemployment rate for Somali youths one of the highest in the world -- 67% among 14-29-year-olds according to the UN -- huge challenges still remain. Abdullah Abdi, a former pirate who recently quit the trade, says that a hungry man will do anything.

SOUNDBITE 3, Abdullah Abdi (man), Ex-Pirate (Somali, 15 sec.): "In the name of Allah there is a possibility that they will do worse than going to the sea. They can be influenced by those who are troublemakers if we cannot get a job for them."

As international heavyweights meet in London to search for ways to fix this fractured state, most foreigners and Somalis agree that the hard work of recovery will have to be done here on the ground.




WS man walk past broken buildings

MS market stall with umbrella

WS plane landing at Mogadishu International Airport

MS William Hague gets off plane

CU William Hague greets Somali politicians

MS William Hague walks through airport parking lot

MS William Hague walks through airport parking lot

SOUNDBITE 1, William Hague

MS man by water at Mogadishu port

CU soldier sticking out of armored vehicle roof

MS Somali flag waving

ZOOM people walk past in Bakaara Market

MS man with no arm walks past in Bakaara Market

CU man stands in front of red truck in Bakaara Market

MS street scene in Bakaara Market

WS truck and ship in Mogadishu port

MS Kalkaal ship

MS goods being lowered from ship

SOUNDBITE 2, Abdullahi Nur

WS group picks up and carried goods

MS tire wheeled through crowd

WS good loaded onto truck

WS youth walks up rocks from water

MS youth washes his face in ocean

CU youth washes his face in ocean

SOUNDBITE 3, Abdullah Abdi

WS cars drive by Mogadishu street

CU men at doorway to restaraunt

MS two boys on motorbike