What is Somalia’s Finance Guru up to? Something Big or Selling Snake Oil
One of the most prominent and most visible members of Prime Minister Khaire’s cabinet is the Minister of Finance. The webpage of the Federal Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Minister’s Twitter account are filled with the images and stories of a man in a hurry. High-level partnerships, conferences, workshops, expert meetings, consultations, technical missions, steering committees, specialized working groups, briefing sessions, press conferences, and interviews abound. The narrative pushed, in unison and with singular determination, by the entire FGS, celebrates remarkable milestones already reached; and confidently predicts the imminent breaking of a new promise-laden dawn. In fact, The Finance Minister’s ubiquitous presence, abundant promises, and enchanting projections seem to have acquired magical qualities. The top leadership of the Federal Government, including the President, Prime Minister, and senior ministers, routinely repeat the Finance Minister’s statements ad infinitum like mantra; and at times top them up with their own spin. Many Somalis, out of desperation, seem to imbibe his optimism wholesale, even at times coming close to believing that the promised future is already here. The unveiling of the National Economic Council (NEC) on 11 August 2018 is the latest episode of this captivating drama.
So, what is Somalia’s finance guru up to? Are the prospects of solid and sustainable fiscal reforms and rapid economic turnaround predicted and promised by the Finance Minister and company real, credible, and realistically deliverable? Is the project informed by and reconcilable with the country- and context-specific realities on the ground? What exactly has been achieved to date vis-à-vis stated goals, expected outcomes, and target areas and beneficiaries? Is something big, unprecedented, and transformative in the works for Somalia? Or is the good Doctor a juju medicine man selling snake oil?
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