Andrew Mitchell, British secretary of state for international development, said following a tour of Somalia that most of the international effort in the country so far has failed.
"The famine was caused by a terrible drought, high food prices and insecurity -- conditions made much worse by the fact Somalia is a failed state," he said in a statement. "Famine, piracy, terrorism -- these are all symptoms of years of breakdown."
London in February is the site of an international conference on Somalia. The aim of the meeting is to help Somalia address the root causes of instability.
Mitchell said that despite political support for Somalia, not enough was invested in the country's future.
"It is crucial that we tackle head on the underlying causes of these problems," he said.
Earlier this month, humanitarian agencies curtailed their work because of conflicts tied to Somalia's battle against al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida ally in control of large parts of the country.