By Hon. Abdulkadir Osoble Ali
There is a huge Bomb in Somalia and its shockwave will wash across the Horn and into the global world.
More than 70 percent of Somalia’s population is now under 30, with about 70 percent of those people unemployed. Less than 40 percent are literate – less again in rural communities. Somalia is still classified as a fragile state, and Somalia’s statistics for human health and wellbeing remain in the lowest band for every category. The population is despondent. They yearn for opportunity to fulfil their own dreams. In a land that is fragile in terms of security and politics, the timebomb only grows.
This Bomb cannot be disarmed by wishful thinking or political maneuvering. It cannot be solved by guns and bullets, nor kill-or-capture, nor by more drone strikes. It does not do it with band-aid or by zombie negotiations on odious debt. The only solution is economic expansion. The economy must grow at a pace that can meaningfully employ Somalia’s ever-expanding population and significantly reduce structural unemployment and underemployment. It is about the economy. It always has been.
For thirty years, there has only been token investment in macro-economic infrastructure. It is a priority to provide Somalia with the macro-economic infrastructure it needs to allow the domestic economy to grow. Macro-economic infrastructure provides a positive multiplier, by giving Somalis the confidence to invest in Small and Medium Enterprises (SME). It is also a positive multiplier in peacebuilding, by signifying real change and the positive inclusion of Somali communities that have been historically and culturally marginalized.
In tandem with macro-economic expansion, there is the need to build the cornerstone of any economy – banking and finance. It’s an obvious powerful multiplier for any society. Without this sector SME development will not occur. The key is to make sure that financial opportunities also reach the poorest and dispossessed, so that even at the micro-credit level, Somalis have a chance to build a future for themselves.
Most employment in any economy is generated in the private sector. By building the macro-economic, banking, and financial infrastructure that Somalia needs, you create the preconditions for the private sector and venture capital to invest. Jobs, not bullets. It is about the economy. It always has been.
Somalia needs a leader with a vision to build a new Somalia for the 21st century that can priorities and maximize job creation and bring hope and opportunity to communities throughout Somalia. The alternative… The alternative is a country in which no one would want to live.
Hon. Abdulkadir Osoble Ali,
Chairman, Foreign Relations & Intern. Coop. Committee,
Presidential Candidate 2022