Somalia proposes ‘Marshall Plan’ for national reconstruction, investment

Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke speaks during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) (Associated Press)

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Somalia’s prime minister is proposing a far-reaching plan for national reconstruction in the aftermath of a civil war of two and a half decades.

Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke used the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday as a platform to promote Somalia’s “Grand Development Plan,” which he compared to a Somali Marshall Plan.

The initiative is focused on rebuilding social and physical infrastructure, creating jobs and opportunities for youth and attracting foreign investment.

The prime minister reminded the U.N. gathering of world leaders that although al-Shabab insurgents controlled Somalia four years ago, today “the sound of bullets has been replaced by the noise of construction.”

Somalia has been trying to rebuild after establishing its first functioning central government since 1991, when warlords overthrew a longtime dictator and then turned on each other, plunging the impoverished nation into chaos. Despite major setbacks in 2014, al-Shabab continues to wage a deadly insurgency against Somalia’s government and remains a threat in the East African region.

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