Your Excellences, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to start by thanking Forum Syd for organizing and giving us this opportunity to highlight and discuss the role the diaspora has for the development in Somaliland.
It is without question the Diaspora community plays an integral and vital role in the sustenance of Somaliland’s daily living. Currently, it is estimated that nearly half of all existing households in the country rely on remittance from abroad.
One cannot overstate how critical this influx of money is for both the locals, who are direct beneficiaries and the wider impact it has on the existing economy.
With this in mind, it is of utmost importance that the Diaspora and migrant communities be included in any upcoming government development plans. It is urged that they should be consulted in an inclusive manner such that they can actively play a participatory role in decisive matters proposed by the government.
This derives from the inescapable fact they are chief contributors to the existing funds in circulation. Moreover, they are either mostly educated to some degree or hold a relatively expansive view of the globalized mindset. This factor is rapidly becoming a mandatory necessity for any population seeking to plug into the international community.
That supplemented by the skill sets they have amassed while in the Diaspora, can be utilized to progressively attain goals and objectives set out by the government.
Statistics indicate the annual remittance from the Somaliland Diaspora amounts to be in the region of $500 Million. This financial injection dwarfs the aid inflow from international partners ($120-150 Million).
Seeing that the remittance vastly outstrips the latter, I reiterate to the government decision makers and all related entities in the development sector, the Diaspora can no longer be cast aside and categorized as mere cash cows.
Quite the contrary, it is now more than ever believed the time is ripe for them to be seriously recognized as key players. Given the above outlined facts, the government and multilateral institutions should exert more efforts in cohesively engaging the Diaspora.
This should be done so by identifying possible and plausible channels whereby they can work in collaboration with the Diaspora members. It is already evident via existing private initiatives led by the returnees that they bring a wealth of attributes to Somaliland.
Be this through their local entrepreneur ventures or NGOS, the Diaspora have
already proven then can tremendously assist in the economical and
developmental revival of Somaliland. Therefore as an ambassador in the
Diaspora myself, I shall seize this platform to strongly appeal to international community. It is of paramount importance they should consider working closely with this ever increasing segment of the population to hasten the attainment of development objectives.
Let us not forget the Diaspora and migrants already make up a sizeable number of members in the current government structure. Across most branches of state administration, you can find members of the Diaspora working tirelessly to execute government initiatives. It can be argued they are already acting as catalyst in bridging the gap between the local population and international community.
I again recommend they should be mobilized and their willingness to work in a stable Somaliland capitalized upon. The Diaspora are pivotal in acting as agents of change and propelling Somaliland closer to recognition in addition to implementing the required project aims outset by both the government and international agencies.
Regrettably as it stands, Somaliland is not yet a member state of the UN. However, it is worth stating we as an aspiring near future member have already adhered to and are in complaint with most of the UN development tenets.
Additionally, it is worth noting that in our recently revised National development plans, among our four main sources of capital development, the remittance from the Diaspora is incorporated and ranked highly. This illustrates the invaluable position they happen to occupy in ensuring the state continues to function.
Ambassador of Somaliland