Center for American Progress report: 20 years in Somalia

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The Center for American Progress (CAP) has just released a report, Twenty Years of Collapse: The Cost of Failure in Somalia. According to their research, the world has spent more than $55 billion responding to Somalia since 1991.

Efforts to establish a central government in Somalia have failed to improve governance. This paper explores the “staggeringly high cost” of a strategy that has been more reactionary than proactive. The paper’s introduction states:

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is rightfully a well-worn adage. Yet in the world of foreign policy it is an exceedingly difficult credo to translate from convenient talking point into practice. As much as policy experts and others, including the U.S. secretary of defense, call for sensible investments in crisis prevention, international development, and expanded diplomatic capabilities, the default setting of the U.S. government and its partners in the international community is to scrimp on crisis prevention while pouring money into crisis response and containment. By and large, the U.S. government ends up spending far more time and money responding to crises or tinkering with tactical responses than preventing crises or nurturing effective peacebuilding efforts.

Read more and download this report on CAP's website.

The famine in Somalia is the worst the world has seen in 20 years, and its effects have been exacerbated by the lack of an effective governing structure. For a list of InterAction members responding to the crisis, see our crisis response list. To see the different projects that our members have implemented in the Horn of Africa, see our latest mapping project, Horn of Africa Aid Map.