Somalia: December 4, 2004


For all their faults, the warlords have created enough stability that  there is a sharp growth in commercial activity. For example, three cell phone companies compete to provide service ($10 a month for free local calls, 50 cents a minute for international calls and 50 cents an hour to get on the Internet.) Each new cell phone transmitter installed requires that the local warlord get a payment. Everyone recognizes the value of the new phone service, after having gone without for years after the old government run phone company was looted and destroyed. As a result, phone company equipment really is protected by the warlords, who do not want to lose their dial tone. The new phone service is much more cheaper and reliable than the old government owned phone company. This is because there is competition, no government bureaucracy and no taxes. There is some fear that if a new government gets established, regulations and taxes will greatly increase the cost of service, and reduce reliability. Currently, all of Somalia has better, and cheaper, phone service than any of the other nations in the region. 

The European Union will spend two million dollars to hold meetings with the new Somalia government, and Somalis throughout the country, to get an idea of what might be possible to rebuild the country.




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