By: Mo Ali/medeshi
Somalilandsun – Entrepreneurship or the process of identifying and starting a new business venture, sourcing and organizing the required resources is essential for Somaliland’s sustainable economy. “Give a man a fish and he will feed himself for a day. But teach him how to fish and he will never go hungry again”, so goes the old Chinese proverb, and it most aptly describes what is needed to light the fire under the economic take-off of Somaliland.
Perhaps more than any other country , no other African population is so reliant on the money sent back home by relatives living and working in the Diaspora than Somalilanders. Whilst remittances do seep through into the economic system, it is barely sufficient and can never substitute for a sustainable vehicle for economic growth and social development. What is needed is for more people to transform from being a receiver of donated money to creators of money. This can only mean entrepreneurship.
Shaking off the dependency syndrome, and forging a new culture of entrepreneurship is the only way our people will hit the road to financial independence. Instead of sending money home, the Diasporans should discuss with their families what businesses they can start with that money. They can also benefit from the experience and the service offered by companies such as Guul Group that provide expertise and support in establishing businesses in the country. If that happens, Somaliland will be well and truly on the road to sustainable development. Our country is rich in natural resources (over and below ground); we have huge agricultural potential which remains untapped, and geographically, we are well poised for a roaring mercantile trade with regional markets such as the Middle East, the Gulf, eastern Africa, North Africa and Europe.
Achieving economic growth requires a conducive environment. Peace and stability is a key factor; so are laws and processes that aid the wheels of enterprise, as well as education and skills development. Lastly but not least, the government needs to show its commitment by putting in place investment incentives that aim to lure not only the big (usually foreign) investors, but also the smaller, home-grown upstarts. Such incentives can include tax holidays, low corporation tax, easy licensing laws, and access to capital. Good transport and communications systems are indispensable to any country’s economic development, so the government needs to ensure that new roads are built, and existing ones properly maintained; it also needs to development telecommunications systems to wire up the country to the outside world. Once most of these factors be in place, Somaliland shall become a nation of entrepreneurs.