Somalia shows signs of recovery and optimism after decades of turmoil

Credit: Reuters

For almost 25 years, Somalia has been a byword for the ultimate failed state; a country where there were no national governing institutions which could ordinary Somalis even the most basic sense of daily security.

Hundreds of thousands of Somalis fled, from the rural farmers to the educated middle classes from cities with the latter escaping in droves to the UK, Scandanavia, North America and Europe.

I've just returned from the capital Mogadishu, the city where I was born.

The last time I saw the devastated city when I had just turned 13 on a family holiday just a few years before the civil war broke out.

I remember it as a sun-kissed, carefree city with mile upon mile of white sandy beaches with the warm crystal clear waters of the Indian ocean lapping on its shores.

As I walked back through its many districts, building after building riddled with the scars of years of war, I was struck by how this city and this country is now showing signs of real recovery and optimism.

A Somalian soldier patrols ahead of an offensive against al Shabaab militants. Credit: Reuters

Only a year ago, vast swathes of Mogadishu were held by the militant Islamist group, al-Shabaab.

Yet today, neighborhoods throughout the city are bustling with normal life.

Restaurants, markets, shops and stores are filled with people trading, shopping and taking in the sights.

Scan the horizon of the city and you are struck by the apartment blocks, offices and shopping malls being built.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud is the first civilian to be elected in a free and fair election to lead the Somali Federal government for 45 years.

He didn't flee and stayed throughout the civil war.

Mogadishu has been devastated by conflict in recent years. Credit: Reuters

He says that with the backing of the international community and African peackeepers, as well the killing of the leader of al-Shabaab in a US led airstrike in September 2014, the militant groups is on the backfoot with many leaders taking advantage of a government amnesty to surrender.

But the groups is far from destroyed, as they showed by detonating a suicide car bomb on the eve of a major visit by Turkish President Erdogan last week, killing three Somalis.

Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (R) shakes hands with Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan. Credit: Reuters

Turkey has taken a lead in pouring investment and reconstruction money into Somalia, a country many believe to be rich in mineral and oil wealth.

It's created the atmosphere and conditions for Somalia to experience a moment full of optimism and momentum to try to leave the destructive past behind.

"We are a state in the making," President Mohamoud told me, "but no one should think that there will be slide back into violence. We are committed to learning the process of consensus politics."

You can see Rageh's full report in On Assignment, tonight at 10.40pm on ITV.