Somalia: July 5, 2004

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In what amounted to a military operation, a local company (owned by 339 Somalis) raised $8.3 million to  reopen a Coca-Cola bottling plant, which had been shut down for 15 years. It took six years of effort to raise the money, work out deals with the local warlords and get the equipment in to build the facility. The plant employs 130 people. There is no central government in Somalia, and to distribute the soft drinks, and bring in raw materials, deals must be made with dozens of clan militias and warlords. The reopening of the Coca Cola plant was a big deal in Somalia, as a symbol of the return of the good old days, before the country descended into civil war and anarchy 14 years ago.

Some law and order has returned to Somalia through the establishment of Islamic Courts. By mutual agreement of clan leaders, and even some warlords, these courts, presided over by clan elders and clergy, dispense justice and settle disputes. The courts have their own armed militias, who act as police and court officials to enforce court decisions. 

 

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