NAIROBI, Kenya — Piracy is fuelling economic growth in Somalia, according to a new report from the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London.
Using satellite imagery and night-time light emissions to plot the growth and development of coastal towns over a number of years, Dr Anja Shortland finds that "the positive economic impacts of piracy are widespread" and argues against a military solution to piracy, as this would damage the fragile economies of coastal communities.
Read more from GlobalPost: Somali pirates attack EU warship Patino
Much of the economic benefits seem to be accruing to larger towns, regional centers like Bosasso and Garowe, while smaller seaside villages miss out.
However, the strength of clan-family connections means that ransom money is widely distributed helping to boost local markets, wages, transport and construction.
Read more from GlobalPost: Somali pirates coverage shows their human side
Shortland, a development economist from Brunel University, uses her study to argue — as do many other experts on the subject — that naval warships are not the solution to piracy, rather a local and land-based answer must be found by providing economic alternatives to impoverished coastal communities.