Somalia in the 1950’s Part III

By | December 15, 2021

The formation of the executive classes of the Somalia, in the European sense. it was obtained with local education, up to the medium grade, and with sending abroad, especially to Italy, for higher-level studies and specialized technical training. In 1954, the Higher Institute of Law, Economics and social (then, in 1956, Higher Institute of Law and Economics, a public law body, with the aforementioned school of political-administrative preparation as an aggregate; then, in 1959, the University Institute of Somalia, of which the part engaged more properly in ‘ academic teaching took the name of a university institute of law and economics; the school attached to it was transformed in 1958-59 into a commercial technical institute).

The problem of choosing an official national language was linked to local teaching. The intransigent opposition of men of the Muslim religion, supported by foreign co-religionists (Egyptians), made it impossible to use the Somali language, for which therefore it was not possible to adopt an alphabet with which to write it. Therefore, Italian and Arabic were used as official written and teaching languages.

The financial autonomy of the territory since 1950 led to the creation of its own currency, the Somali, having a gold parity of g 0.124414 and equivalent to the English shilling of East Africa, which the Somali replaced as legal currency at the time of cessation of the British occupation; his correspondence in Italian lire was 87.50. The issue was entrusted to the Bank for the monetary circulation of Somalia. For Somalia 2004, please check

The solidity, politically supported, of the currency, whose coverage was 100% guaranteed, was however matched by the actual weakness of the local economy, for which the administering nation tried to implement useful measures to promote the development of limited resources. of the country. The provisions made by means of investments of public funds essentially concerned agriculture and animal husbandry, with the improvement, in the first place, of the water supply. To the public ones we must add private investments, in the agricultural sector as in the industrial sector (this almost entirely of Italian initiative); in 1959 it was estimated that public and private investments had reached, since 1950, a total of 237.8 million Somalis (equal to about 21 billion Italian lire; without calculating those carried out by the oil exploration companies, whose works are still, in 1961, at a sounding stage). Certainly, since 1950 there have been significant improvements and increases in agricultural production and livestock breeding, also by Somalis, with greater and more profitable results of the products and therefore with an improvement in the conditions of the population; but the Somali economy, at the end of the Italian mandate, was still too scarce, for known intrinsic natural reasons and for complex structural reasons. In view of this situation, calculations were made in advance for the financial needs of the Somalia after independence, and as early as 1958 the governments of the USA, Great Britain and Italy guaranteed financial assistance to the independent Somalia In 1954 the “Credito Somalo” was created, an institution governed by public law, with the aim of supporting and encouraging agricultural businesses and small crafts; in 1959 an autonomous section of the “Credit” was established, authorized to carry out medium and long-term operations in favor of the industry, using a loan of 2 million dollars granted by the “Development Loan Fund” of the USA. In 1954, moreover, an economic cooperation and assistance agreement with the USA provided for the granting of some financial funds to accelerate and promote the development of the economy.

If in the ten years of his mandate he had tried to make Somali society absorb Western culture, at least to the extent necessary to face the most urgent commitments deriving from the new order of things, and this, first of all, in the political and social field, more slowly in the technical ones, this action was concentrated in the few urban aggregates or European settlements and naturally it was a contact that could only touch the surface, still limited to a small group of people, who came to constitute the new ruling class, mostly young people only.

With the approach of the date for the independence of the Somalia, the action of local politicians became more insistent to promote the formation of a “Great Somalia”. In Mogadishu the “National Pan-Somali Movement” was founded on 30 August 1959 with the participation of the representatives of the political parties of the other territories, inhabited by Somalis but under different governments. In the programmatic manifesto was declared the desire to strengthen the bonds of friendship with all Muslim states. These Somali claims, in fact, found open favor with the political currents of Egypt, encouraging a Muslim understanding or union, and, in particular, Islamic-African.

The French and Ethiopian governments declared themselves contrary to the pansomal aspirations, which more openly and directly, from the very first hints, expressed its opposition, to the point of supporting the passage of the Somalis to become part of the Ethiopian state. The British government has repeatedly stated that it does not support the claims of the Somali Republic on the territory of Ethiopia and that it will not encourage supporters of “Greater Somalia”.

Somalia in the 1950's Part III