Aims and Components of the Initiative
The Republic of Somaliland has large Diaspora population roughly estimated around 1,000,000 mainly spread across Western Europe, North America, Middle East, North & East Africa, and Australia as well. The Somalilanders in the Diaspora have always maintained strong links with home, in many cases more active role than making remittances but also continued useful involvements more in the private sector trade and investment, tourism, innovations, knowledge transfers, and have meaningful role in the democratic system and the political transformation. Because of the continued peace reliability and political stability of the country, there has been nowadays significant increase of the Somaliland Diaspora returning home, apparent growth of the Diaspora entrepreneurship, trade and investment projects, and more physical returns than ever before
Despite its political commitment as that the Somaliland Government established Somaliland Diaspora Engagement as Directorate under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, yet the task of the Diaspora Engagement underdeveloped. The major challenges include absence of proper Diaspora engagement regulatory policies, lack of fitting coordination mechanisms, limited incentives to the Diaspora, poor cohesion among the Diaspora and no effective organization of Somalilanders in the Diaspora, inadequate database and lack of reliable pertinent data which together hinder furthering, deepening or maximizing Diaspora engagement in the national development agenda.
Under the Economic Sector, Somaliland National Development Plan II (2017-2021) outlines further improvement of the Diaspora’s role as indicated by the Outcome “By 2021, increase Diaspora role in both the domestic market investment to 10% and their contribution to the public investment” which corresponds to the adopted SDG8 “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.” According to NDP II, key interventions to be implemented within this period includes Establishing Diaspora Trust Fund, Creating sound and friendly business environment for the Diaspora investment interventions, and Creating programs for brining Diaspora expertise and young generations back to home.
The Head of State of the Republic of Somaliland encouraged the Diaspora to take advantage of investment opportunities unfolding in the country which are the new centres of development, called on them to get involved in the development processes, and to further contribution to the nation building. The Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Prof. Yasin Mohamud Hir (Faratoon) urged Somalilanders in the Diaspora to collectively make efforts and combine their resources towards investment in the available opportunities of their origin country ,Somaliland, form strong associations, strengthen unity and cohesion among them which will not only advance engagement but also help them in the implementation of the Public Diplomacy, and the lobby for the decisive quest for international recognition
As against this background, the Ministry prioritized “Somaliland Diaspora Engagement Initiative” which as part of the Ministerial Strategic Plan particularly entailing essential interventions in regards to the Diaspora affairs, and aligned with NDP II economic sector (2017-2021) as stated above. After some delays due to both financial and technical constraints, under this initiative, MoFA&IC endeavours to implement SIX VIABLE PROJECTS of considered strategies geared towards the crucial engagement of the Somaliland Diaspora in less than two years period. Each project has specific strategic objectives, different important components, and certain activities to be undertaken within the set timeframe of 20 months,
- Validation of the National Diaspora Policy Framework & Strategic Plan,
- Establishing Inter-ministerial Task Force (Under process for implementation),
- Building Interactive Website and Diaspora Database (Completed),
- Establishment of Diaspora Trust Fund (Under consultation),
- Research Study & Profiling Diaspora Information (In progress) and
- Formalizing Incentives to the Diaspora in certain areas (Under consultation).