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World Bank endorses Somalia’s steady economic recovery

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The World Bank has backed Somalia’s economy to grow above expectations for the next three-to-five years, if the country can sustain its current economic reform momentum.

The Horn of Africa country has been in turmoil since 1991, when clan warlords overthrew President Siad Barre and then turned on each other. Over the past decade it has been hit by famine and sporadic terror attacks by al Qaeda-linked militant group al Shabaab.

Several indicators over the last 12 months have demonstrated that Somalia is well on its way to recovery from the years of turmoil and economic distress.

Somalia on the rise
Tax collection by the government increased by 29% last year, as the economy recovered from a drought the previous year and the government changes its tax policies, the World Bank said.

The Washington based lender, in September last year, approved the first loanto Somalia in 30 years, $80 million to fund public finance reforms.

In May this year, the International Monetary Fund said Somalia’s economy was on the right track but warned that it was still vulnerable to fragile security, climate change and poverty.

In November last year, continent aviation powerhouse, Ethiopian Airlines made its first landing in the Somali capital Mogadishu after 40 years absence.

“Our flights will quickly grow to multiple daily flights given the huge volume of traffic between the two sisterly countries and the significant traffic between Somalia and the rest of the world,” Tewolde GebreMariam, Ethiopian Airlines’ chief executive, said in a statement.

Source: Africanews

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Somalia’s largest telco launches women-for-women tellers

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Hormuud Telecom, Somalia’s largest telecommunications company, has established tellers serving only women in the capital Mogadishu.

In a video posted online, women tellers were seen serving fellow women customers.

Hormuud is a leader when it comes to offering equal job opportunities to both men and women. In the last few years, it employed more women than any other company.

Hormuud was founded in 2002 and has since grown into a Telecom giant, offering affordable services.

Hormuud has more than 20,000 full-time and part-time employees.

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Somaliland and Puntland receive higher diaspora remittances than the rest of Somalia

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Every year, members of the Somali diaspora send approximately $1.4b to their family, relatives, and friends in Somalia, exceeding all humanitarian and development assistance to the country. The remittances comprise around 25 percent.

Somalia’s annual overseas development assistance is estimated at $1.3bn.

Funds transfers from overseas citizens back into their home country play a very important role in countries like Somalia, where a large number of its citizens fled to the outside world, especially to the West, following the collapse of the state. These transfers help recipient families pay for their monthly basis needs such as food, water, education, and healthcare. It also helps families get access to credit. Sometimes, it helps many Somalis survive recurring droughts.

This money—usually small monthly contributions taken directly from working Somalis in the diaspora—is nothing short of a lifeline for the Somali people.

But what is less understood is how that money, the diaspora remittances, can contribute towards inequality among Somali communities, and which regions in the country receive more than others.

Yet only an estimated 40 percent of the population receives remittances. For these households, monthly remittance receipts range from $50 to more than $300, with an overall monthly average income from remittances of $229.

A report by the Rift Valley Institute, a non-profit organisation operating in Eastern and Central Africa, shows the relationship between remittances and the relative vulnerability of certain communities, and how remittances can contribute towards inequality.

According to the report, there is a clear link between the average levels of remittances, and the regions in which they are received. Regions in the north, Somaliland and Puntland, receive on average $254 per month, while regions in the south of the country, excluding the capital city, Mogadishu and the port city of Kismayo, receive $119; a significantly lower monthly total.

Populations who do not benefit from remittances are disproportionately found in the south, where there is a larger rural population, and where marginalised and ethnic minority groups are mainly found.

There is also a clear link between the distribution of remittances and dimensions of migration. The Somalis, who out-migrated first, predominantly came from the north of the country, particularly from Somaliland and Puntland. These diaspora populations are now well-established in the United States and Western Europe. These patterns have been further entrenched by subsequent migration, which is facilitated by remittance transfers from existing migrant communities in host countries and other formal processes, including family reunification programmes.

The rebellion in Somaliland (now a self-declared republic) against the government of President Siyad Barre, in the late 1980s, led to a mass exodus to foreign countries, especially to the US and the UK, before the rest of the country followed suit after the collapse of Barre’s government in 1991.

This regional inequality was considered an important factor in how the dynamics of the Somalia famine of 2011 developed, with remittance-receiving communities being less vulnerable to famine.

Clan dominance and socio-economic profile of particular clans also affect how remittances are distributed.

The 2017 drought and associated humanitarian crisis showed how Somali clans demonstrated contrasting abilities to mobilise external support and, by implication, levels of resilience.

The large and dominant clans, as well as the small but well-connected ones, were able to raise funds abroad due to their historical migration patterns and the size of their current diaspora populations.

However, clans that are agro-pastoralists and whose communal identity is based on a combination of family-lineage and land-based territory responded to the drought less successfully.

Clans whose family structures are looser and who historically have had a less prominent national political profile, and whose diaspora is smaller, raised comparatively little money from abroad.

Despite playing a crucial role in Somalia’s economy and helping families meet their basic needs, remittances do contribute to inequality.

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Business and Finance

As Stability Returns, Somalia Moves Toward Becoming Major Oil Producer

Plans will be announced in December when the new Petroleum Law, currently before the Senate, will have been passed into law.

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Somalia will launch its first-ever crude oil licensing round, with details about it to be announced in December, according to the country’s Minister of Oil.

Plans will be announced in December when the new Petroleum Law, currently before the Senate, will have been passed into law.

“We are presenting up to 15 blocks,” Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed said, adding that the results from seismic research conducted at these blocks was promising, suggesting they could hold as much as 30 billion barrels of crude.

The minister spoke at Africa Oil Week in Cape Town where he announced first round of bidding on offshore acreage blocks, mainly in southern Somalia.

Abdirashid made a point of noting all 15 blocks were far from the maritime border with Kenya, which is currently the object of a dispute between the two east Africa neighbours.

Kenya and Somalia are engaged in a diplomatic row after Nairobi accused Mogadishu of auctioning part of its oil blocks in the Indian Ocean to international companies at a London event in February.

This prompted Nairobi to recall its ambassador in Mogadishu and ordered the Somali ambassador in Nairobi to leave.

Somalia denied Kenya’s accusation, saying it was presenting the results of seismic surveys and showcased possible locations in the country where oil reserves can be extracted in the future.

In 2014, Somalia sued Kenya at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), requesting the boundary be drawn to reflect a diagonal line in its favour.

The Somali government said it will tender several offshore oil and gas blocks later this year despite criticism from the opposition that the tender should wait until the country gets a law and regulations governing the use of the country’s natural resources.

The tender has been postponed for 2020, but the potential reserves it would open up access to have been increased substantially.

Somalia has attractive oil and gas prospects, survey results suggesting the Horn of Africa nation could be sitting on 100 billion barrels which could make it one of the world’s major oil producers.

After recent improvements in security that saw al-Shabab lose control of major towns and a decline in piracy off the coast of Somalia, the government saw an opportunity to start exploration activities.

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