Piracy Boosts Puntland Economy
New research suggests piracy has led to widespread economic development in some parts of Somalia.
The study, published by British think-tank Chatham House, looked at detailed satellite imagery.
Regional centres have benefited from substantial investment funded by piracy, but coastal communities have missed out, the report indicates.
International naval patrols in the Gulf of Aden are making it more difficult for Somali pirates to launch attacks.
However, at least 40 vessels and more than 400 hostages are still being held in or just off Somalia, according to the Ecoterra International group which monitors piracy in the region.
A two-decade civil war in Somalia has allowed pirates to flourish.
Some of them are former fishermen who say they were put out of business by trawlers from around the world taking advantage of the power vacuum to fish in Somali waters.
The study suggests a land-based solution is needed to tackle the problem.
Report author Anja Shortland says that in 2009, pirates received an estimated $70m (£46m) in ransom payments – more than five times the official budget of the semi-autonomous Puntland region where most pirates are based and almost double total cattle exports from the whole of Somalia.
She cites a UN study that about 30% of a ransom payment goes to …….. [access full article]