Pirate News: Piracy boosts Somalia economy

NAIROBI, Kenya — Piracy is fuelling economic growth in Somalia, according to a new report from the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.

Using satellite imagery and night-time light emissions to plot the growth and development of coastal towns over a number of years, Dr Anja Shortland finds that "the positive economic impacts of piracy are widespread" and argues against a military solution to piracy, as this would damage the fragile economies of coastal communities.

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Much of the economic benefits seem to be accruing to larger towns, regional centers like Bosasso and Garowe, while smaller seaside villages miss out.

However, the strength of clan-family connections means that ransom money is widely distributed helping to boost local markets, wages, transport and construction.

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Shortland, a development economist from Brunel University, uses her study to argue — as do many other experts on the subject — that naval warships are not the solution to piracy, rather a local and land-based answer must be found by providing economic alternatives to impoverished coastal communities.

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