The Impact of Globalization on Somali Culture
Since its inception in 1960 when it gained independence from Britain and Italy respectively after the merger of former British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland into what came to be known as the republic of Somalia, the impact of globalization on Somali culture has evidently been beneficial and detrimental in many aspects. The idea that a nation cannot progress economically without a strong central government does not coincide with the current upsurge in globalization where its impact is being felt in every corner of the world including the “stateless” nation of Somalia whose economy experienced noticeable growth even with the absence of an effective central government. The immediate objective of this research is to uncover the negative and positive trends globalization has had on the Somali culture.
Definition of Globalization
The term globalization resonates with a novel and emerging global topic whose definition in the myriads of available international relations textbooks and dictionaries conjure up varieties of rudimentary connotations. Charles W. Kegley, Jr. and Shannon N. Blanton, in their book, World Politics: Trend and Transformation, describe globalization as the integration of states, through increasing contact, communication, and trade, to create a common global culture for all humanity. 1 The creation of a common global culture will sound a worrisome anecdote for those determined to preserve their local heritage and dynamic cultures.
A Brief introduction of Somalia
Situated in the Horn of Africa, the Republic of Somalia has a land area of 637,540 square kilometers which makes it slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Texas. On a physical map Somalia resembles the figure seven or a rhino horn. Its terrain consists mostly of plateaus, plains, and highlands. Measuring 3,025km, Somalia has the longest coastline in the African continent followed by South Africa (2,798km). It is bordered by the tiny nation of Djibouti (inhabited by Somalispeaking people) to the northwest, the Gulf of Aden and Yemen to the north, Kenya to the southwest, the Indian Ocean to the East, A postal stamp issued in Somalia in and Ethiopia to the West. The population of 1959 showing four men carrying a frankincense tree
Somalia was estimated by the United Nations in 2003 at 9,890,000 and is placed at number 80 in population among the 193 nations of the world.2 President Aden Abdille Osman became the first head of state of the Somali republic in 1960.
Unexploited Natural Resources
Somalia is endowed with unexploited mineral resources and vast maritime resources that have been a source of contention since the collapse of the central government in 1991. The absence of a strong and effective government has left Somalia’s coastline prone to illegal fishing and dumping of toxic waste by foreign trawlers and the dreaded Mafia-an issue even voiced with deep concern by Mauritanian-born Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, former UN envoy to Somalia.3 Somalia’s eastern coastline overlooking the Gulf of Aden has become a hotbed for piracy consequently bringing in millions of dollars and acting as a pedestal for an ailing economy. 4 Even though Somalia is not in the list of The Ogaden Basin covers 350,000 sq km oil producing countries, oil explorations carried by Conoco, Amoco, Chevron, and Philips before the military junta fell, suggest it could contain significant reserves.5 Somalia’s unexploited natural resources include uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt, natural gas, and likely oil reserves. 6 Despite the abundance of unexploited natural resources, factors that have been preventing Somalis from attaining economic prosperity include religious extremism, foreign intervention, maritime piracy, human rights violations, insecurity, poor leadership, and general anarchy. “The Ogaden Basin covers 350,000 sq km and is the largest proven...
‘Toxic Waste’ Behind Somali Piracy by Najad Abdullahi, Aljazeera (October 11, 2008)
Helen Kennedy, Piracy big boon to Somalia economy; hotels, restaurants sprout in port of Eyl in pirates ' presence, nydailynews, (April 9, 2009)
Office of the United States Trade Representative: Executive Office of the President: U.S-Somalia Trade Facts. (May 26, 2010): http://www.ustr.gov/countriesregions/africa/east-africa/somalia.
Rachel Swarns, “Africa’s Lost Tribe Discovers American Way,” New York Times (10 march, 2003).
Benjamin Powell, Somalia: Failed State, Economic Success?, Freeman: Ideas on Liberty, (April 2009) • Volume: 59 • Issue: 3 http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/somalia-failed-state-economic-success/
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Somali mobile phone firms thrive despite chaos by Abdi Sheikh and Ibrahim Mohamed, Reuters (Nov 3, 2009) http://af.reuters.com/article/investingNews/idAFJOE5A20DB20091103
The Missing Million: The Role of the Diaspora in Somali Development, a report for the UNDP by Hassan Sheikh and Sally Healy, (March 2009). http://www.so.undp.org/index.php/Somalia-Stories/Forging-Partnerships-with-theSomali-Diaspora.html
Laurent Cohen-Tanugi. The Shape of the World to Come: Charting the Geopolitics of a New Century. Trans. George Holoch, Columbia University Press (2008): pp.9
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