Establishment of Diaspora Business Forum has been declared and other strategies for Diaspora Networking Systems
The Somaliland Diaspora Agency under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of Somaliland held one day consultative meeting with members of the Somaliland Diaspora business community as well as professionals at Adams INN in Hargeisa on the Tuesday, November 27, 2018.
The overall purpose of the meeting intended to enable the target groups of the Diaspora to have inputs in the Agency’s developing strategies towards the Diaspora investment and networking systems based on the National Diaspora Policy & Strategy and as aligned with the National Development Plan II (2018-2021) in the sector outcome.
“I thank you very much for your attendance, and participation. The specific objectives we have called for this meeting are of two points which are: to consult with you on how to establish forum for the Diaspora business community, plus making associations for the Diaspora returnees organized into respective host countries to improve their networking, cooperation, sharing of information and experiences, as well as facilitating the obtaining and management of related information, databases, and coordination of the sector in general,” Abdi Abdullahi Hersi (Dayaxweerar), Chairman of Somaliland Diaspora Agency.
The Meeting was attended by several members of the Somaliland Diaspora business community returned from various countries who invested in different economic sectors – production and service including food & beverages, travel & tourism, energy, light manufacturing factories, agriculture, livestock, poultry, consultancy firms, also retail businesses for some of them. The participants presented their business profiles, shared experiences, and particularly exposed the challenges they have suffered as businesspeople in Somaliland – their concerns in the public service delivery, the labor demand, regulations, the taxation system, the lack of banks for credits, and investment opportunities, the absence of conventional banks in Somaliland etc. Representative from Hargeisa University also presented the role of UOH in preparing bright future for the country’s youth which about one thousand young people graduate each year from varied fields, and he called for the Diaspora professionals to join them and volunteer for the welfare of the nation.
SLDA Team presented the outcome of the first phase of a recent survey carried out on the Diaspora investment in the private sector particularly in Hargeisa which demonstrated great increase of the Diaspora investment since the recent years which great contributed to employment opportunities for thousands of young locals, and on the other hand identified the challenges hampering furthering the role.
The Participants highly appreciated the proposed formation of Somaliland Diaspora Business Forum and regarded it as important platform not only beneficial for the interests of the Diaspora business community but also supporting the goals for achieving expected outcomes of the economic sector as aligned with NDP II.
At the end of the meeting, a task force of few members was assigned to work with SLDA on the preparatory process of the Diaspora Business Forum Establishment.
Why the Establishment of Somaliland Diaspora Business Forum?
In accordance with the communiqué or declarations of the Somaliland Diaspora 4th Annual Conference attached here, we need to implement this action in order to create close networking, sharing of information and experiences among the Diaspora business community in Somaliland, and to make Diaspora-oriented investment discussion platform.
The functions or objectives and services of the forum is in many ways similar to other alike forums but will be Diaspora-oriented in the investment promotion and the economic development agenda.
It is intended to facilitate required services to the Diaspora investors and entrepreneurs, and serve as the main platform of the Somaliland Diaspora Investors working under given instructions, and per the National Diaspora Policy of Somaliland and Strategic Plan of SLDA.
All members of Somaliland Diaspora investors/entrepreneurs regardless of their other citizenships shall be eligible to become members of the Forum. The Forum will have Quarterly Meeting for updates of important issues. Consideration will be given to the participation of other stakeholders in the Quarterly Meetings such as Line Ministries other government institutions, local and international business support organizations etc to pose questions, present recommendations, and seek solutions to important issues of concerns. The first meeting of the Forum is planned to take place on January 2019.
The Forum functions or duties not limited to but shall include the following:
- Serve as the Focal Point and portal of the members of Somaliland Diaspora investors who have businesses at home, or who have interests and business plans;
- Assist in the registration and database of the Diaspora investors, and the areas of their investment in Somaliland;
- Support implementation of the Diaspora-oriented strategies and policies as delegated by SLDA to them in the areas of promoting the Diaspora investment and/or the sector development programs as per SLDA Strategic Plan and NDP II;
- Support cooperation of Somaliland Government and Somaliland State with foreign countries they are second citizens to and attract investors to come to Somaliland;
- Serve the main platform for the Diaspora investors to address hampering challenges, and make communication with the Government Authorities on addressing challenges, and proposing solutions to the problems the Diaspora investors are facing;
- Advocate and lobby for exemptions and incentives for the Diaspora investors to make investment in Somaliland;
- Support all the programs and projects regarding the research and studies in the Diaspora sector, and their participation in the investment matters and in the national development of Somaliland which SLDA may be implementing;
- Support dissemination of information and the important decisions issued by SLDA, or Government bodies in relation to the investment issues or subjects of importance;
- Assist in the organizing of Somaliland Annual Diaspora Conferences, Annual Diaspora Business Forum in Somaliland and similar events in foreign countries which Somalilanders are resident.
Statement Issued by Somaliland Diaspora Agency
Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation
Hargeisa, Republic of Somaliland