Chatham House: Independent thinking on international affairs

Reports and Papers

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

Programme Paper
Anja Shortland, January 2012

  • This paper uses recent forms of nightlight emissions and high resolution satellite imagery to look at the effects of piracy on the Somali economy and establish which groups benefit from ransom monies.

  • Pirates appear to be investing money principally in the main cities of Garowe and Bosasso rather than in the coastal communities where pirate activity is located.

  • The positive economic impacts of piracy are widely spread, so a military strategy to eradicate piracy could seriously undermine local development.

  • Villages that have gained little from hosting pirates may be more open to a negotiated solution which would be to their benefit.

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