For over two decades, Somalis have been known as stateless. They have been associated with piracy, terrorism, and continued lack of law and order. Yesterday, the U.S. government formally recognized the Government of Somalia for the first time in 20 years. To me, this recognition brings back the dignity of a people who have endured so much. As a Somali-Kenyan, this recognition is meaningful to me. In the Horn of Africa, we are all Somalis regardless of our citizenship.

Over the years, my greatest areas of concern in Somalia have been increasing access to basic services and economic opportunities for the most vulnerable, and strengthening Somali women’s contributions to politics and leadership. With a recognized Somali Government, I believe these hopes will become realities in the near future.

A Somali woman who has gained economic opportunities as a result of USAID’s Transition Initiatives for Stabilization program, which brings communities and local governments together to realize immediate benefits of peace. Photo credit: USAID

At USAID, our work spearheads the long-term development the country needs, and we will work in close partnership with the Somali Government to achieve this. Somalia will benefit from USAID’s support, capacity building and expertise as a respected development agency. I hope that by taking USAID’s lead, other governments and financial institutions will also be more likely to directly partner with the Somali Government.

The Somali people are hardworking, innovative and very hospitable. They have already started rebuilding the country and diaspora members are returning. Somalia is a beautiful country with the most serene white beaches boasting the longest coastline on the Indian Ocean at more than 3600 km. It has a rich history and diverse groups of people; it is rich in livestock, agriculture, minerals and marine resources. Once you visit, you are hooked for life! I look forward to seeing how development in Somalia will enrich life even more for the Somali people.

Visit our website to learn more about USAID’s work in Somalia.

Nasri Hussein is a Program Management Specialist for USAID/East Africa’s Transition Initiatives for Stabilization