February 24, 2012 in Events
|February 27, 2012|
|6:00 pm||to||8:00 pm|
Entrepreneurship and Creativity in the Horn of Africa
Date: Monday 27th February 2012, 6-8 PM
Venue: Grand Committee Room, Houses of Parliament
Panel discussion organised by the Royal African Society in collaboration with the Horn of Africa Business Association.
Abdirashid Duale, Founder of Dahabshiil Money Transfer;
Mohammed Yusef, Chairman/CEO of Invicta Capital Ltd;
Perez Ochieng, CEO of SACOMA.
Chair: Richard Dowden, Director of the Royal African Society.
On Thursday 23 February, some of the world’s most influential leaders – including the UN Secretary General, over 50 heads of state and senior representatives from international organisations – will come together in London to try to coordinate a better international approach towards Somalia.
The London Conference on Somalia will focus on seven key issues, including piracy, terrorism and humanitarian assistance. Discussions will also revolve around what political system should succeed the current transitional government when its mandate expires in August this year.
The motivations for this conference are two-fold: Somalia has become a global problem due to its piracy and al-Shabab Islamist militants; and a growing number of countries, some with competing agendas, are now getting involved in the region.
The current security and aid fixation of Britain and the other international players in Somalia has meant that business, trade and investment have been omitted from the conference’s agenda.
But despite the continuing conflict and instability, the country’s economy and the Somali business community’s entrepreneurship and creativity is one of the reasons to have hope for the future. A dynamic form of “stateless capitalism” has flourished in Somalia in the last 20 years, with both traditional and modern sectors positively booming.
Somalia has one of the cheapest, most efficient mobile phone networks in Africa. It is also home to Dahabshiil, one of the largest money transfer companies on the continent. Dahabshiil and other money transfer systems facilitate remittances from Somalis in the Diaspora, which are estimated at $1.3bn-$2bn a year and are also crucial to the country’s economy.
The livestock trade into the Gulf and other neighbouring countries has also thrived. Somalia accounts for 95% of all goat and 52% of all sheep exports for the entire East African region. Finally, there is the very efficient khat (a mild stimulant) trade, worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
In the aftermath of the London conference on Somalia, our panel of experts will analyse these developments and more, offering an alternative debate on Somalia.
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