The International Monetary Fund and World Bank have held talks
with representatives of Somalia for the first time in 10 years,
encouraged by signs of stability in the East African nation,
an official said Friday.
the security situation in some areas is improving, and there
is generally more economic activity,'' Milan Zavadjil, division
chief of the IMF's Middle Eastern department told The Associated
Press in Nairobi, where the talks took place.
the fund should send a mission to discuss economic development
and the situation in all of Somalia,'' he said.
that it was purely a fact-finding mission. Somalia has had
no central government since 1991, when opposition leaders
joined forces to oust dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
turned on each other, and the country disintegrated into warring
fiefdoms. In recent years, violence has subdued in many parts
of the country, particularly the north.
driven by entrepreneurial Somali businessmen, has taken off.
The country now has an efficient mobile phone service, e-mail
in some of its towns and cities, independent television and
FM radio stations and privately owned air companies.
first time since 1991, Somalis have been celebrating their
independence from Italian and British colonial rule and the
formation of the united Somali Republic on July 1, 1960.
decade of conflict has taken its toll on the country of an
estimated 6 to 8 million people.
said overall economic activity was lower than the pre-1991
years, and there were ``virtually no government services.
are no up-to-date economic figures for the country. The week-long
talks in the Kenyan capital involved businessmen from the
Somali capital, Mogadishu, as well as officials from the self-styled
breakaway ``republic'' of Somaliland and ``state'' of Puntland.
Bank and IMF provide loans for development and financial restucturing.
if the talks are an encouraging sign for Somalis, nothing
substantive can happen until Somalia has some form of internationally
recognized national government. T
regions of Somaliland and Puntland have achieved relative
stability and created their own institutions, but the ``statelets''
are not internationally recognized.
talks are significant, but nothing is going to come about
today,'' said Dr. S. Nair, a member of the United Nations
Development Program team responsible for Somalia.
a process, and it has to be seen in this respect.'' A Somali
peace conference going on in neighboring Djibouti since May
2 could result in a transitional parliament that would chose
a Somali administration.
attempt to achieve peace since 1991, the conference is hailed
by many Somalis as their chance to end a decade of violence
and clan-based militia rule.
is the first to include traditional leaders, members of civic
society and religious leaders.
process poses a threat to clan-based faction leaders who have
ruled by the gun, raising concerns that the warlords, most
of whom have refused to attend the conference, will fight
any transitional body.
of Somaliland and Puntland have also refused to take part
in the conference.
in Somaliland want our brothers to settle their problems,
then we can get together and discuss our problems. But first
they have to have peace between the clans in the south,''
said Abdul Dualeh Mohamoud, governor of the Bank of Somaliland.
says it fears ``the net result of the whole peace process
may be to destabilize and rekindle war in the only truly peaceful