Kormeeraha Team has designated Abdisaid Muse Ali, Somalia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, as the the month of February personality for his outstanding work.
Cleaning up a disastrous diplomacy
Since he took office after Mohamed Abdirizak dismissal, he has constantly set the bar a little higher every day, at a level unequaled in Somalia and even in Africa. Indeed, his appointment has injected new dynamism into the conduct of Somali diplomacy.
In a country still stuck in the election quagmire, and where every other politician is busy with getting re-elected or plundering the public assets, he is surprisingly intensely focused on righting a foreign policy in shambles. He shares his daily work on his twitter account and there is no respite on his busy agenda.
From day one, in what looked like a race against time, he met with all foreign diplomats serving in Somalia. The goal was to know each other and remind some of them to respect the sovereignty of their host country. In December, he even shut down the separate terminal at Mogadishu airport that AMISOM and other foreign personnel were misusing.
Somalia’s African diplomacy takes off
With African Union involvement in Somalia peacekeeping, Abdisaid took particular care in cultivating cordial relations with African countries and enhanced Somalia’s diplomatic stature within the AU. In the process, he picked up the Security Transition Plan (STP) ending AMISOM where his predecessor left off and finalized the process, hands down.
Abdisaid took particular care in cultivating cordial relations with African countries and boosted Somalia’s diplomatic stature within the AU. A must in a context where Western nations are using some African regimes as proxies to keep Somalia in check.
Three major summits since December gave the minister the opportunity to stand out and compete with fellow African nations. It started with the 3rd Africa-Turkey Partnership summit in Istanbul (16-18 December). Then, the 35th AU summit in Addis Ababa (5-6 February). And finally the 6th EU-AU summit in Brussels (17 -February 18). They were three opportunities to deploy all his know-how and his energy to highlight the essential place of Somalia.
Conquering the world
Abdisaid has established diplomatic relationships with other foreign ministers from China to Venezuela and from Finland to South Africa. Not a day goes by without the minister having a remote or face-to-face meeting with a foreign counterpart. Diplomacy requires building bridges between countries to facilitate dialogue and be heard.
The foreign affairs minister also takes full advantage of his trips abroad to highlight Somalia’s importance on the international scene. The diplomatic world is a close-knit community and presence or participation in global affairs is a necessary if a country wants to stay relevant.
It is within this framework that he participated in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting held in Islamabad on December 19. A meeting aimed at finding solutions to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
It is also important to highlight his presence at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) on 18-20 February at a time when Somalia is campaigning against tough UN resolutions, like the anti-piracy resolution.
Advocating for Somalis abroad
Abdisaid breaks with the image of his predecessors accused of being slow to react and dipped in self-promotion while the country was absent from the international scene for almost three decades.
He captivated the public when he spoke on behalf of young Somalis trapped in migration ordeal, killed on their trek to Europe or caught up in the Russian-Ukrainian war.
The minister especially stood out for his coordination of the relief provided to Somalis stuck in Ukraine. He contacted the neighboring countries of Ukraine, such as Poland and Hungary, to facilitate the safe passage of these students. He also got Serbia to give them the opportunity to continue their studies there.
Under his leadership, the African Union followed suit by speaking with one voice, for the first time, for the protection of African students fleeing violence in Ukraine.
A big shoe to fill
If Abdisaid retains his post beyond the upcoming presidential election, and if the rhythm to which he has accustomed us continues, there is a good chance that Somalia will emerge from UN tutelage and regain its rightful place in the community of nations.
The Minister teaches us all what professionalism, transparency, leadership and patriotism mean. If this is replicated throughout the civil service, Somalia has a chance not only to make up for lost time, but also to overtake many developing countries in the next four years.
In the meantime, the minister has not finished surprising us. The Somali public applauds and welcomes this new impetus showing a visible, energetic and relevant Somalia.
This impressive and steady track record places the minister above all the other politicians now on the lookout for a post, notoriety or wealth at the expense of the citizens.
We commend his efforts to make this nation great again and his leadership, dynamism and unquestionable footprint.