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In-depth Country Risk Report - Somalia

Maplecroft’s Country Risk report on Somalia analyses the evolving threat posed by the al-Shabaab militant group in Somalia. The report evaluates the implications of al-Shabaab being pushed north by increasingly successful military operations in central and southern Somalia, and the risk that the comparatively stable autonomous regions of Somaliland and Puntland will be destabilised as a result.

The report assesses the dynamic threat posed to each region of Somalia by al-Shabaab, charts the group’s history (to inform analysis of its likely future strategies), and examines the government capacity to cope with the militant group in each region of the country. In addition, the report looks at the security and operational implications for companies with interests in Somaliland, Puntland and Mogadishu, before providing four key scenarios for the development of al-Shabaab and the implications for doing business in the country associated with each scenario.

Companies should be aware that al-Shabaab’s insurgency has evolved in scope and focus following significant military defeats during 2011 and 2012 in central and southern Somalia – an area that it once dominated – and the group poses increasing risks to business operations in northern Somalia.

Al-Shabaab’s loss of Kismayo – a key logistical hub and source of revenue for the insurgency – has contributed to elements of the group being pushed northwards towards the autonomous region of Puntland, and, to a lesser extent, Somaliland, in an attempt to regroup and consolidate. Of the two regions, it is likely that Puntland will become a new strategic base for al-Shabaab, given the region’s weak institutional capacity, high levels of corruption, and lack of the rule of law, which together contribute to a poor security environment in which militancy can prosper. Furthermore, Puntland provides an ideal harbouring territory for the group in the remote Golis Mountain region, which is conducive to the guerrilla-style warfare increasingly employed by the group.

Furthermore, the report states that it is likely that al-Shabaab will seek to draw a coastal region under its sphere of influence to replace the logistically important loss of Kismayo. Ports easily accessible from the Golis Mountains, and readily accessible to arms shipments from allied militant groups – such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – operating from ports across the Red Sea in Yemen are at particular risk. Al-Shabaab’s movement northwards could negatively affect foreign direct investment inflows to the region, which could contribute towards an even greater reduction in governmental resilience and capacity to combat the group.


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Jason McGeown, Head of Communications
Tel: +44 (0)1225 420000

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