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Somali central bank chief seeks new currency to rebuild nation

La Qoray

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Few central bank chiefs have been jailed by a dictator or hide a loaded pistol in their desk draw, should Islamist militants decide to call. Bashir Issa Ali has done all that, and now he wants to recreate Somalia’s currency from scratch.

Serving his third term in a long career interrupted by exile, disputes with the government, and the spell in prison, Ali wants Somalia to print its first banknotes since the 1980s to help rebuild an economy emerging from decades of chaos at the hands of Islamist and clan militias.

The tattered shilling notes still in circulation – worth about 4 U.S. cents – are emblematic of Somalia’s descent since 1991, when dictator Mohamed Siad Barre was toppled by warlords who carved up the country into personal fiefdoms.

“We absolutely need a new currency,” said Ali, who this time became central bank governor in 2013, adding that the existing notes “are old, they’re torn, they’re dirty and they’re fake”.

Ali needs to do more than just print new banknotes. Most urban Somalis have given up on the shilling and do their daily business using a mobile phone payment system, with transactions denominated in dollars.

Therefore he must create a new currency that can be used by Somalis who have no mobile phone, while winning back those who no longer use shillings by choice. The currency will also need a new system to fix its foreign exchange rate if it is to become credible.

Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu is changing fast. Hotels and restaurants have sprouted from the rubble since African Union troops wrested control of the city from al Shabaab Islamist militants in 2011. The government, however, has struggled to build a financial system and pull the country’s 12 million people out of poverty.

Shoring up the economy is vital to securing the military gains and stopping Somalia being a haven for the likes of al Qaeda, which is aligned to al Shabaab. Both groups have staged bomb attacks in the region and threatened Western targets at home and abroad.

Ali, 73, has led efforts to rebuild the financial sector over the past decade. In 2005, he returned to East Africa from exile in Sweden to re-establish the central bank, whose headquarters lay in the bombed out ruins of Mogadishu. In the early months, he paid the first few employees out of his own pocket.

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Somaliland Head To Polls For Councillors And MPs On May 31, 2021 Last updated May 31, 2021

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Waxaa Qoray

Voters in the self-proclaimed republic of Somaliland are heading to the polls on May, 31 to choose their member of parliament for the first time since 2005.

Somaliland broke off from mainland Somalia after the regime of Siad Barre in 1991.

The 5.2 Million citizens of Somaliland will be making yet another stab at global recognition as some 1.3 million voters head to the polls to choose 82 members of parliament and 247 local councils.

An election whose measure of democracy Somaliland hopes to use in its quest to certify its sovereignty.

Somaliland’s three political parties in the polls are opposition politicians Faisal Warabe’s UCID, Wadani led by another opposition leader Abdirahman Erye and President Muse Bihi Kulmiye party.

The elections is observed by over a hundred international observers including Uganda’s former opposition leader, Kizza Besigye and ex-president of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Korma.

”Our visit to the headquarters of the Somaliland National Electoral Commission left us with a good impression about the Commission’s preparedness to conduct peaceful and credible elections,” said in a Twitter post.

The elections are taking place in six regions of Somaliland, namely Awdal, Sahil, Marodi-Jeeh, Toghdeer, Sanaag and Sool.

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3 Somalia Regional States Say No To Farmaajo Term Extension.

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Waxaa Qoray

The regional state leaders of Southwest, HirShabelle, and Galmudug allied with incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo have opposed to any form of extension on Tuesday evening.

In a joint statement Galmudug and HirShabelle called for dialogue based on 17 September pact.

“We agreed that the country should hold elections as soon as possible and that any form of extension should be abolished,” read part of the joint statement by HirShabelle and Galmudug.

Southwest leader Abdiaziz laftagaren also opposed the term extension of the President just an hour after Galmudug and HirShabelle released a joint statement.

The move by the three regional states allied to President was welcomed by Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble who also instructed the military commanders to pull back forces to their locations and barracks.

“I would like to welcome the press statements made by Galmudug and HirShabelle federal states, ” PM Roboe said in a statement.

“I call on the FMS states of Puntland and Jubaland and Benadir region to fully commit to a peaceful process in our efforts to hold free and inclusive election, ” he added.

United Nations, United Kingdom, United States and opposition leaders including former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud commended the move by the regional states.

“The UN in Somalia noting statements by Qoorqqor, Ali Gudlawe, PM Roble and others recalls int’l partners position: consensus is vital for any electoral process; only 17 September model can be endorsed by FGS and all FMS; all parties must reject violence and resume dialogue, ” the United Nations said.

The development comes as families in some parts of Mogadishu fleed from their residences and moved to other district followings clashes.

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Somali Gov’t Warns Al-Shabaab & ISIS Will Capitalize On SNA Faction Clashes.

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Waxaa Qoray

Somali National Security Minister Hassan Hundubey has warned opposition groups to be wary of “unknown elements” including Al-Shabaab and Daesh who might seek to use the current crisis to inflict harm to the public.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday said that the government may take action to confront people with the “behaviour of militias” who are taking advantage of the situation.

“The government has enough troops to take control of the city. It is Ramadan, but more actions need to be taken to prevent it.” mr. Hundebey said.

”The reason the prime minister called for dialogue is that the government does not want the fighting to affect the residence,” he added.

The remarks by the interior minister come hours after the international partners strongly condemned the outbreak of violence in the capital.

“We are alarmed especially by the emerging fragmentation of the Somali National Army along clan lines, which detracts from its primary task of combating Al Shabab and protecting the Somali population. Use of security forces for the pursuit of political objectives is unacceptable” the statement read in part.

As tensions increase in Mogadishu following Sunday clashes between government soldiers and those who were against President Farmaajo’s two years term extension.

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