Is it safe to travel to Somalia?

Yes and no. Yes because positive things are happening in Somalia despite the constant flow of bad news from the Horn of Africa nation.

In 2015, the then UN envoy to the country, Nick Kay, Somalia was no longer a failed state but a recovering fragile country.

“The country in the past two-three years has come together quite significantly. It is both politically stable and developed as well,” he said.

The country is stabilizing very fast and Somalis are returning home.

In April 2018, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said that some 78,000 Somali refugees voluntarily returned from Kenya since December 2014.

The country has been itching towards stability since 2012 when a new internationally-backed government was formed.

Many outsiders, however, still consider Somalia one of the most-dangerous places on earth.

For ordinary Somalis, life continues despite being at risk of terrorism.

For someone to travel to there, they need a valid passport with at least six months’ validity at the date of entry into the country. Immigration agents may refuse to allow visitors to stay in the country if their passports.

As more stability returned, foreign countries are battling for access to Somali seaports.

In 2017, an Emirati company, called DP World, signed multi-million dollar contracts to expand the ports of Bosaso and Berbera.

And companies from Turkey, a key ally of Somalia, run schools and ports in southern Somalia.

It is worth mentioning that the unrecognized, autonomous republic of Somaliland, in the northwestern part of Somalia, has for years maintained a functioning government with armed forces and border protection; Somaliland is about as other developing countries (i.e. not perfect but pretty good), but has not achieved international acknowledgement because the United Nations and African Union put such effort into propping up the national government from which it seceded.

Somaliland is a reachable, if quite gritty, tourist destination. Lack of international recognition makes it hard to get there, and the absence of diplomatic representation is a worthy concern. There’s also little tourist infrastructure, though history and natural beauty hold great potential (as they do for all of Somalia). One of the major things a tourist in Somaliland accomplishes is thinking, “Whoa, I’m in Somalia,” and marveling that he feels secure.

All this said, neither Somalia nor Somaliland is near the top of my list of destinations, though I look forward to a time when I might be able to visit to appreciate the culture, the history and how far the place has come in my lifetime.

Additional material from Quora

21 thoughts on “Is it safe to travel to Somalia?

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