Cynics argue that Afweyne has made his money, and now wants to invest the cash in businesses.
Others suggest he is partly driven by condemnation that the pirates of his Saleban clan have tarnished the international reputation of the wider Somali people.
Last year he was reportedly given a diplomatic passport by Somalia’s then-president, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, as an inducement to dismantle his pirate network.
However, whatever his motivation — and however hard it may be in reality to stimulate economic growth in the lawless pirate regions — Afweyne’s influence is important.
Somalia’s weak government — propped up by a 17,000-strong African Union force — does not control the key areas where pirates operate, which are largely along the northern coast in the autonomous Puntland region.