Somaliland Diaspora Contribution to Homeland Development

The Republic of Somaliland has a large Diaspora population roughly estimated over 600,000   mainly living in the Western Europe, North America, Africa, Middle East and other parts in Asia as well as Australia.  They have long played tangible roles in the nation building since after Somaliland regained its independence from Somalia in May 1991 for which even their bravery inputs are unforgettable and momentous during the years of  the bloody struggle in 1980s against the collapsed Regime of Siyad Barre, and they have long been noted as quite significant to the Somaliland’s economic, political, social and cultural developments.

Somalilanders in the Diaspora have contributed to Somaliland political transition by advocating for the good governance and strengthening of the countries democracy. Members of the community based in various regions of the world including UK, Scandinavian Countries, USA, Canada and elsewhere in Europe have engaged the Somaliland political leadership on pertinent political issues.

According to reports on remittances from the Diaspora the average household receipt of remittances per annum in Somaliland was about US$4,170 and its share of household income was 64 per cent (Ahmed, 2000), and the total value of the annual remittances was estimated about US$500 million, which would be about four times the value of livestock exports from Somaliland in a normal year. Henceforth, it is clear that Somaliland Diaspora communities contribute significantly to the national development and that there is room for such aid to be directed towards goals of poverty eradication across the Continent. There is a need to ensure that conversations on Diaspora involvement in development continue to occur.  

The Somaliland Diaspora supported the peacebuilding process, and reinstating of Somaliland government in the early years after 1991. They have had immensely and to a great extent  contributed to the reconstruction of the ruined privately owned properties in the major cities and towns in every region of the country, they have provided private sector investment, creation of employment opportunities – in , telecommunications, hotels, financial services, small and medium factories, a variety of public-needed essential services including hospitals, universities etc, which have positive impact on the national economic growth, improving the labor industry, as well as beneficial for the government revenue increase. The Somaliland Diaspora brought visible innovations to the private sector.  The Diaspora also had and still have remarkable contribution to the formation of the political parties and the democratization process in Somaliland 

Somaliland Diaspora have not only become resourceful for the support of interests of their country of origin but also entered for the development of the host countries, integrated well and proved active players in the most foreign countries they live.

History of Somaliland Diaspora:  

The context of Somaliland Diaspora is similar to those of the other countries in the African continent and other world. To date Somalilanders continue to migrate in search of better economic opportunities, resulting to major brain drain.  Indeed the Government of Somaliland recognizes the role of Diaspora as they have been the force driving through inward formal remittances, which made easy the process of peace and stability in Somaliland and from reconciliation, reintegration, rehabilitation, reinstitution of the state of Somaliland, the process of state building and democratization in Somaliland. In the present time, there is no accurate data on the status of Somaliland’s migration movement at the present.

 World Bank studies reveal that Somaliland Diaspora annually makes money remittance of about $500 million and other reports show that most percentage of   estimated one billion dollars remitted to Somaliland and Somalia mostly goes to Somaliland.

The bravery role of Somaliland Diaspora women has been appreciated according to their contribution to home more than men do particularly in the remittances. A survey made in 1998 on 165 remnants in Hargeisa showed 65% of them were women from the Diaspora.

The remarkable achievements have had in the economic, the private sector development and the infrastructural building in some cases are noteworthy whilst their contribution and engagement in the political arena has been on increase within the last decade.

 In Short the Somaliland Diaspora contribution can be divided as following:

Economic Themes

Flow of remittances to family and friends as social safety purpose and business startups

Transferring innovative business ideologies and modern service models

Small scale Investment in the potential natural resources including fishery, minerals, animal fattening, gums and resins, energy and recycling schemes

Public infrastructural building such as roads, social services, airports, seaports etc.

Facilitated export opportunities

Commercial and business investments in the private sector, investing services and small scale industrial production initiatives – Small and Medium Enterprises and businesses of varying sizes, product and services;

Social themes

Transferring innovative business ideologies and modern service models

Contribution to rebuilding and maintenance of social services, health centers, schools, boarding schools, incentive to the teachers, other professionals in public service delivery and increasing opportunities of the higher education

Transferring expertise, knowledge, ethics, accountability, transparency, standards and other norms

Public policy formulations and developing tools

Improvement in the telecommunication technology, transportation etc

Transferring qualified professionals in a variety of skills, health/medical professions and contribution to the community health services in urban areas as well as to high standard education and advancement of the higher education

Contribution to the social welfare, mobilizing humanitarian assistance and emergence of droughts

Voluntary workforce

Political themes

Involvement in the political transformation of Somaliland

Democratization process and formulation of political parties

Public awareness and pivot role in the political stability

Supporting reestablishment, peace-building, reinstating, and constitutional development

Contribution to the recognition of Somaliland

Diaspora Registration

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