Somalia is Fast Becoming a Business Hub Says AU Special Representative
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia and Head of AMISOM Ambassador Maman Sidikou says it is possible to do business in Somalia, despite the disruptions caused by terror group Al-Shabaab.
Speaking to the Somali business community in Minnesota, United States, Ambassador Sidikou said Somalia was on the rise economically, adding that investment by Somalis in the diaspora would give impetus to the creation of wealth.
“If you look at the Somalia I see when I go through the streets, you’re just amazed by the resilience of the people to do business more than anything else. When I see the cafes, telephone companies, I see buildings coming up, cranes etc this is the best sign of the people believing in the future of their country,” the SRCC added.
Ambassador Sidikou assured the business community that whatever investment they made back in Somalia through remittances, would be secured, while AMISOM gradually stabilizes the country.
“I can tell you that we’ll work, keep working hard to ensure that your investment, if you invest there, is secured. That we gradually go back to an environment where business is possible through modern systems,” he emphasized.
He noted that there were clear signs that the Somali economy is on its path to recovery. He cited developments in the financial services sector such as the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) now operational in the capital Mogadishu, an insurance company that is up and running as the Federal Government works to set up a chamber of commerce.
He singled out sectors where potential investors can venture into with high rate of returns. They included security, fisheries, construction and education businesses, among others.
He noted that AMISOM and other key partners are willing to help the government as go-betweens for the Somalis in the diaspora who want to invest back home, by linking them up with partners.
“If you can team with us, with the government, with some partners who are really ready to provide resources for projects we can make a huge difference for the future, because kids are the future”, said Ambassador Sidikou, in reference to job creation for vulnerable youth.
The SRCC urged the Somali businessmen in the diaspora to help in modernizing the banking system back in Somalia instead of relying wholly on the Hawala system, which he acknowledged has served the country well.
The businessmen expressed relief that business had picked up in the capital city and some towns, due to the relative peace, but expressed fear that security was yet to take root in some areas.
“Mogadishu now is booming but it’s only in some areas. It’s not all towns. It’s not even balanced how the economy is growing because everybody wants to be in a safe area to do business,” said Abdiaziz Dhore of Bahsab company who spoke on behalf of the business community in Minnesota.
The businessmen acknowledged that Somalia had the capability to do well in agriculture, but said insecurity in some parts of the country was a hindrance to achieving this potential.
Ambassador Sidikou concluded his visit to Minnesota on Saturday 3rd October, after meeting with various groups of Somalis living in the State. Minnesota has the largest Somali Community in the United States.