Somalia’s budget is ‘about equal’ to ‘High School Musical 3′

YIKES. That was literally the first thing that popped into my head when I read Foreign Policy’s Passport blog post, “What it costs to run Somalia.”
Blogger Elizabeth Dickinson puts Somalia’s fiscal year 2009 budget — a paltry $11 million — into perspective. The money comes from exit fees, customs duties and international aid — and mostly goes toward government salaries.
But apparently, that figure doesn’t get you much. And for a country inflicted with poverty, militant factions and conflict, it probably doesn’t do much, either. According to Dickinson’s research, $11 million is:

- 20 times smaller than the 2010 budget of Topeka, Kansas
- A mere 1/2 of Derek Jeter’s 2010 salary
- 890 times smaller than Starbucks’ 2009 annual revenue
- About equal to the budget of “High School Musical 3″
- About equal to the amount that the Scottsdale, Arizona school district had to cut from its budget this year.
- But good news — you could start between two and three franchises of the Hard Rock Cafe with that amount!

With Somalia topping Foreign Policy’s 2010 Failed States Index, it looks like corruption is partly to blame for their government’s low budget figures. But let’s not forget that Africa loses approximately $148 billion each year as a result of corruption alone.
In fact — compared with peaceful countries — sub-Saharan African countries in conflict have 50 percent more infant deaths, 15 percent more undernourished people, 20 percent more adult illiteracy and 2.5 fewer doctors per person on average.
ONE believes that peaceful countries with leadership accountable to its citizens will have the best chance at winning the fight against extreme poverty and disease. That’s why we’re urging world leaders and donor countries to play a role in promoting and supporting accountability, transparency and stability.
Hopefully next year, Somalia’s budget looks more like “Avatar” than “High School Musical 3″—and with the results to show for it.