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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Who are the sponsors of the first think tank in Somalia?

The Indian Ocean Newsletter





The Heritage Institute for Policy Studies (HIPS), the first think tank in Mogadishu which was launched on 15 January, states it is an independent non-partisan research centre. However, a number of the institute`s sponsors and officials have links with the Islamic group Ahlu Sheikh
which is close to the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar. Moreover, one of Ahlu Sheikh`s eminent members is the former President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG)Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. The director of HIPS, Abdi Aynte, a former journalist with the BBC, Voice of America and Al Jazeera English, is the son of one Sheikh Sharif`s political allies and a partisan of Ahlu Sheikh. The deputy director of HIPS, Abdirashid Khalif Hashi, is a former minister under Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo, the former Prime Minister of the TFG affiliated to Ahlu Sheikh. Fahad Yasin Haji Dahir, who is close to the current ministerFarah Sheikh Abdiqadir [Farah Sakiin] and a former Al Jazeera journalist, is another key figure in the HIPS.

According to a source in Somalia, he played a role in channelling funds from Qatar to finance the election campaign last year of the current President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Qatar could therefore also contribute to HIPS`s funding. HIPS`s other sponsors are Somalian businessmen, with trading links with Sheikh Sharif and with Turkey. Moreover, the Turkish ambassador toSomalia, Cemalettin Kani Torun, was present at the launch of HIPS in Mogadishu. This think tank also has an international aspect, as it includes a number of foreign “stars”, such as BBC journalist Mary Harper, Laura Hammond, senior lecturer at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London and Jason Mosley, Associate Fellow of the UK think tank Chatham House.

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