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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs