Aside

Development effects of piracy in Somalia (as studied by day & night satellite images)

Can I come up with a reason to study the health impacts of piracy? Ideas welcome!

Piracy has created employment and considerable multiplier effects in the Puntland economy, even if a significant proportion of the proceeds is invested in foreign goods or channelled to foreign financiers. The distribution of ransoms follows traditional patterns in Somalia, involving considerable redistribution and investment in urban centres rather than coastal villages. Piracy-related gains have been largely offset, however, by the rise in international food prices. While Puntlanders are relatively better off than the rest of the country as a result of piracy, the poor are no better off in absolute terms.”

The total cost of piracy off the Horn of Africa (including the counter-piracy measures) was estimated to be in the region of US$7–12 billion for 2010, while ransoms were said to be in the region of US$250 million. Even if Somali communities received all of the ransom money, replacing this source of income (for example with a combination of a foreign-funded security forces and development aid) would be considerably cheaper than continuing with the status quo. A negotiated solution to the piracy problem should aim to exploit local disappointment among coastal communities regarding the economic benefits from piracy and offer them an alternative that brings them far greater benefits than hosting pirates does. A military crack-down on the other hand would deprive one of the world’s poorest nations of an important source of income and aggravate poverty.”

Full report: Treasure Mapped: Using Satellite Imagery to Track the Developmental Effects of Somali Piracy

h/t: Alex Evans

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