The Somaliland National Diaspora Policy:

The National Diaspora Policy (SLNDP) of the Republic of Somaliland is an ongoing product of a highly participatory and inclusive consultative process which seeks to absorb more knowledge, comments and inputs from the Somaliland Diaspora by bring together as the primary users of the policy with better knowledge on Diaspora issues and without their involvement in this policy would not have been possible. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation as the line Ministry of the Somaliland Diaspora Agency (SLDA) had the overall policy directives in the process of designing and drafting this policy.  

The consultative process on the development of the policy begun in 2011 on the bases of the initiatives made by the Somaliland Diaspora Associations and Communities, and SLDA has ensured the inputs of the policy from relevant different segments of Diaspora communities, for which the input of the Diaspora  still continues as they are the community that the policy is about to affect, and as their participation is tremendously viable to coming up with resourceful National Diaspora Policy for the Republic of Somaliland.

The Republic of Somaliland describes its Diaspora as the bridge breaking through the isolation that Somaliland has been from the outside the world nations and international community. The policy on the engagement of Somaliland Diaspora Community, citizens in the Diaspora – towards economic reconstruction and development of their country of origin is one of the Government’s national priorities and country’s development agenda of the 2nd NDP (2017-2021).

The Somaliland citizens abroad have equal right with other citizens at home and they have similar role and duties to participate the development and economic growth of their country of origin as any other country of the world. The policy is facilitating their participation and demand based on what they sees fit to their desires and interests in the system.  

SLNDP defines what Diaspora is and articulates on how to gather data on Somaliland Diaspora in abroad. The policy focuses the best practices and lessons learned from wider spectrum of the Diaspora practices and performance, including but not limited to the optimal policies and strategies operating on Diaspora’s engagement in other countries, regions, international and global level.

The policy contains an overview of global outlook, best practices and lessons learned on Diaspora engagement and the best use of Diaspora’s engagement policy and its successful contributions into national development, policy goals, objectives, priorities and strategies of their country of origin. The policy is using strategies already tested by other countries and policy recommendations made by wider stakeholders and rational, intergovernmental organizations and international policy-makers.

The policy avoids creating over ambitious policy of unachievable policy goals and strategies. More specifically, policy focuses Somaliland’s local context, realistic and attainable policy goals in the policy formulation.

Special consideration is given on the use of experiences and lessons leant to countermeasure factors and challenges lowering Diaspora engagement and policy implementation in other countries of Africa with the same context to Somaliland. The government has made its commitment to take every possible step towards ensuring preventive actions for defusing any challenges in the implementation of the policy.

The policy is identifying most relevant partners within the process of policy implementation and Diaspora’s engagement and clarifying the role for policy implementation, and the priority is to bridge the gap between Somaliland and external stakeholders by promoting the respect of human rights of migrants as a cross cutting issue within the host-country and international partnerships including through the implementation of relevant continental and international legal instruments.

Somaliland Government is committed for strengthening Somaliland policy frameworks and institutional capacities for enhancing Diaspora engagement, support capacities of Diasporas as development actors in their homeland, promoting volunteering and network building and support initiatives aimed at developing a better knowledge of the Somaliland Diaspora and easing laws and regulations including dual citizenship for Somaliland citizens residing abroad and facilitating access of rights in his/her homeland.

Moreover, the intention of this policy is to promote a sense of unity among all Somaliland citizens in abroad regardless of his/her political view. The policy theme is “unity and solidarity of Somaliland Diaspora community at first”. The policy guarantees the principles of non-discrimination on the engagement of Somaliland diaspora in abroad and in country, as well avoiding discrimination between citizens in abroad and those at home. Finally, the policy employs the best practices ensures clarity and is dealing with issues that may impair the effectiveness of the policy implementation process by providing timely feedbacks to all concerned stakeholders.

Best practices:

The Somaliland Diaspora Policy intends to facilitate the best practices that Diaspora has played important and positive roles, which policy is focusing in six key areas: remittances, direct investments, human capital transfers, philanthropic contributions, capital market investments, and tourism.

Best practices proved that the field of migration and development are currently dominant on the international policy scene and that many of host governments engage in the support of Diaspora engagement in their countries of origin, which obligates the county of origin to formulate more conducive migration and Diaspora policies.

The Diaspora affair is getting special attention in bilateral relations of different countries, and also in international cooperation, subject of precondition of acceptance and implementation of relevant international legal instruments. The best practices of Diaspora policies consider that institutional capacity is the foundation upon which Diaspora policy is built. In addition, other policies considers the presence of realistic policy, transparent laws and regulations, policy coherence across different government institutions, departments and synergies between government’s Diaspora strategies and broader socioeconomic development in the country of origin, regional and global practices.

The policy engages best practice in regional and international co-operation and partnerships as safe and harmonious migration can only be achieved if there is collaboration and co-operation among all concerned countries. As pillar of country’s foreign policy in collaboration with the Ministry of foreign affairs and international relations SLDA strengthens its relations with Diaspora; engage and respond to the challenges affecting them; advocate the need to harmonize Somaliland national laws to legalize dual citizenship.

As a national policy, it is to serve to maximize Diaspora’s engagement and contribution to national development through the promotion of economic and human capital, mobilization of skills, facilitating and channeling financial transfers towards development sectors. The practices of knowledge transfer consider that the intellectual is becoming the capital investment.

The policy implementation approach ensures maximize to participation of cross-cutting stakeholders at all NGI, CSOs, International Organizations, and will maintain effective relations with various bodies regional, international and global level.

Lessons learned:

The policy is replicating the best practices and lessons leant and life experiences around the countries, regional, international and global performance of Diaspora’s engagement policies and strategies to be aligned in Somaliland context and into national development agenda. The policy is actualizing the increase inclusiveness and participation of wider stakeholders, built truth, transparency and accountability.

In order this policy function towards achievement of goals and priorities, the government ensures coherence of policies across all levels of Somaliland government structures and work proactively with a wider group of stakeholders at national and international level for achieving greater coherence on the implementation of the policy.  Diaspora networking, building mutual beneficial relationship and facilitation of remittance, their investment and knowledge transfer are the major lessons learned. .

In accordance of Global Forum on Remittances and Development held Milan from 16-19 June 2015 (WB, EU & IFAD) reported three components on the Remittances and Development; i) Increase transparency, through a portal displaying the transaction costs of multiple institution types (not just banks), ii) Increase competition, by allowing non-bank organizations to enter into money-sending business (e.g. mobile operators) and iii) Facilitate the use of new technologies, which are in practice in Somaliland.

In the pursuit of national interests, the origin and host countries have given consideration human resource as source of intellectual capital and means driving effective development of national socioeconomic aspects by harnessing the potentials of the majority of their human resource including their citizens residing in abroad. Thus, “Diaspora Knowledge Transfer” is considered an integral part of Diaspora engagement in almost all countries of origins.

NOTE: We welcome to the feedback and recommendations from the Diaspora professionals and from all the other stakeholders for the finalization of the National Diaspora Policy by writing to the email . Also, you can write us in case you are interested in the upcoming consultative meetings and the final policy dialogue workshops before Nov, 2017 in Hargeisa.

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