News / Africa

Somalia Seeks to Rebuild Economy, Promote Peace at UAE Summit

FILE - Former Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Gedi.
FILE - Former Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Gedi.
Phillip Walter Wellman
Somali officials say a stronger economy is vital to prolonged peace. This week, they traveled to the United Arab Emirates with the hope of attracting foreign investment to the war-torn nation.

Participants at the Somalia Investment Summit in Dubai painted a different picture of the East African country than the one the world has become familiar with.

"If in past years the image was hunger, piracy, terrorism, today you will see a different scenario," noted Ali Mohamed Gedi, the former prime minister of Somalia's Transitional Federal Government.

"You will see a light at the end of the tunnel. You will see hope, and that life is coming back. This is the image we now want to show."

Growing stability in Somalia, a country which is grappling with a two-decade-old civil war, can largely be attributed to outside intervention.

Over the past year, African Union troops helped drive al-Shabab militants from major cities. And out at sea, international naval patrols led to a significant decrease in pirate attacks.

But Gedi warned that the outcome of these efforts could be short-lived unless more is done to address the underlying problem of poverty among the population.

"The young generation who have been employed by al-Shabab they are not ideologically radicalists, but [do it ] for their survival," he explained. "So if we create jobs for them I believe that they’ll play a role in the stabilization and the security of the country."
Hassan Dudde, the chairman of the Somali Economic Forum, agrees that the lure of illegal activity, especially piracy, will always be great when employment opportunities do not exist. He said attracting investment to Somalia now, while the security situation is improving, is crucial as it will create jobs and help promote safety not only in the country, but throughout the region.

“I think what the international organizations and the international community is starting to realize is that bringing troops to Somalia will not be the answer to this problem," Dudde said. "When people have jobs and a better life they will be less likely to get in trouble.”

While conditions in Somalia have been improving they are by no means ideal for investors. In addition to safety threats and the lack of a central government, corruption is rife and there is an absence of a skilled workforce.

There is also no secure legal framework for foreign investors, although authorities are reportedly in the process of forming new legislation.

“Investors are a bit afraid of going into situations like that, but there’s a huge opportunity," noted Hirsi Dirir, CEO of Dahabshil Bank, which operates 130 branches in the country. 

"The GDP growth of Somalia is equal to Ethiopia; it’s actually higher than some of the stable African countries. Somalia is growing, the economy is growing.”

Analysts say Somalia has substantial potential in natural resources, including agriculture, livestock, fishing and hydrocarbons. Its telecommunications sector is also expected to attract future investors.

Although an increase in stability has led to a growing number of investments from overseas, overall activity remains weak.

The United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen are the leading investing nations in Somalia.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
April 09, 2014 4:04 PM
Corrupted politicians who mysteriously amassed huge amount of aid money for their personal use. They became super rich overnight at the expense of dying civilians. This kind of politicians should not be trusted.
What Somalis need now is relatively public security, peace and political stability after that we have to establish the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In the Commission we must determine where to head for our future.
In Response

by: darwiishka from: us
April 12, 2014 1:49 AM
Ali Mohammed gedi who he is most corepted official of somali a and my be he is looking for another way that he make 32 million that he already taken from Somali poor this guy is really a joke and if you ask Somali people they will lough at you.

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs