By Liban Ahmad
According to Martin Plaut, the former BBC Africa editor, anti-Al-Shabaab operations by 15,000 African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) troops cost $50m each month. Multiply this amount by 12 months, and the annual bill for peace-keeping operations in Somalia is $600,000,000. The “international donors are beginning to tire of the burden”, Martin Plaut wrote in the New Statesman. He would like the west not to walk away “from Somalia at this critical juncture.” If one takes into account other annual business, infrastructure development and stability funds the international donors commit to Somalia, the cost could reach $1 billion.
Let us assume that on average each AMISOM soldier is paid $1500 salary. The monthly salary bill for AMISOM troops would be $22, 500,000. That is 45% of the monthly AMISOM operations cost based on a hypothetical salary.
Now imagine a peaceful Somalia with a non-partisan army and elected representatives. A peaceful Somalia would have revenue streams but the international donors could still be committing funds to help Somalia move from the fragile state to a durable state.
If the 50m was used to pay an average salary of $500 for each government employee, 100,000 employees would be on the payroll of the federal government throughout the country. If you divide this number by the seven clusters of established administrations and those in the making, each cluster would employ 14,285 persons.
If each cluster has committed 30% of the $50m monthly budget to security, youth unemployment would go down sharply, and local economies would be stimulated. For a nation of 10m people recovering from a prolonged war 10% of the population would be on the federal government payroll. This is one example about benefits Somalis could reap from peace and democracy.