Somalia’s 2023: A Year to Remember: From Arms Embargo Lift to Security and Economic Milestones

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and PM Hamza Abdi Barre’s tenure in 2023 can be regarded as a significant year of achievements for Somalia.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and PM Hamza Abdi Barre’s  tenure in 2023 can be regarded as a significant year of achievements for Somalia, reflecting substantial progress in various sectors. A key success was the lifting of the arms embargo, which marked an important moment for the nation’s sovereignty and security capabilities. This move was a testament to the international community’s growing confidence in the Somali government’s ability to manage its arms responsibly.

Furthermore, Somalia’s accession to the East African Community (EAC) was a monumental step in regional integration. This membership not only bolstered Somalia’s regional ties but also opened avenues for economic, social, and political collaborations, enhancing its geopolitical significance in East Africa.

Another landmark achievement was the strategic drawdown of the African Union Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). This transition, managed in collaboration with the Somali security forces, demonstrated Somalia’s growing capability to maintain its security and offered a blueprint for African-led peacekeeping success stories.

In the economic domain, Somalia achieved a critical milestone with the receipt of $4.5 Billion dollars debt relief from the IMF and the World Bank. This relief was a result of the government’s commitment to economic reforms and fiscal discipline, paving the way for increased foreign investment and financial support.

The implementation of a National ID system was a significant step towards enhancing governance and service delivery. It played a crucial role in improving security measures, facilitating better planning, and ensuring equitable distribution of resources.

The completion of Somalia’s constitution is another significant achievement before the end of 2023, providing a robust legal framework that underpins the nation’s democratic governance and rule of law. This process was instrumental in defining the rights and responsibilities of citizens and the government, thus strengthening the nation’s institutional framework.

In the security sector, the relentless war against the terror group Al-Shabab was marked by significant successes. The Somali government, supported by international partners, made substantial gains in disrupting and degrading the capabilities of Al-Shabab, contributing to the country’s stability and security.

While 2023 was undoubtedly a year of numerous victories, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s administration faces upcoming challenges. These include consolidating the gains made in the security sector, ensuring sustainable economic growth, and continuing the path of political and institutional reforms. The focus will also be on enhancing social cohesion, addressing humanitarian issues, and ensuring the successful implementation of the newly completed constitution. As Somalia progresses, these challenges will require strategic planning, steadfast commitment, and continued support from the international community to ensure a stable and prosperous future for the nation.

Ismail D. Osman
Ismail D. Osman
Ismail D. Osman: Former Deputy Director of Somalia National Intelligence & Security Agency (NISA) – Writes in Somalia, Horn of Africa Security and Geopolitical focusing on governance and security. You can reach him osmando[at] @osmando