THE 3rd ANNUAL DIASPORA CONFERENCE OF SOMALILAND
Theme: “Experiences of the Diaspora & the Situation at Home”
(Waayaha Qurbaha & Wacyiga Dalka).
Date: 2-3 August, 2016.
Venue: Maansoor Conference Hall, Hargeisa.
Deadline for registration and submission of papers: 27th July, 2016.
Conference Language: Somali.
The Republic of Somaliland has Diaspora population roughly estimated over 600,000 spread across Europe, North America, Middle East, Australia and Africa. Somaliland joins several developing countries that include India, Eretria, Sri-lanka, Israel, Ghana, Nigeria, and Ethiopia that have successfully engaged their Diaspora in a strategic manner. Contributions of the Somaliland Diaspora have long been noted as quite significant to the Somaliland economy and to development in general. Over time the Diaspora community contributes to Somaliland’s economic, social, political and cultural developments.
Somalilanders in the Diaspora have for decades been resourceful reconstruction, peace restoration, state building, economic investment, the democratization process and/or the political transition by advocating for the good governance and strengthening the country’s democracy. Members of the Diaspora community based in various regions of the world including States of America and Europe have engaged the Somaliland political leadership on pertinent political issues. According to reports, it is estimated that the Diaspora remittance exceeds $500 million dollars a year and that the remittance represents 40% of the income or urban houses and 14% of the rural income as studies carried out in Hargeisa and Burao indicated. There are thousands of professionals, entrepreneurs, intellectuals and experts from the Diaspora who invested variety of businesses, brought business innovations, established modern hotels, hospitals, schools, universities etc, invested factories and entered for the institutional building serving the government, developing tools, working with local and international NGOs, lecturing in universities and many running their businesses which has greatly contributed to the economic growth, employment opportunities and government revenue as well
It is clear then that Diaspora communities contribute significantly to national development and that there is room for such aid to be directed towards goals of poverty eradication across the Continent. There is a need to ensure that conversations on Diaspora involvement in development continue to occur. The upcoming 3rd Annual Diaspora Conference is one tool for sustaining these exchanges and recommending solutions to the impeding challenges and constraints in the sector.
Strategic alignment to national policy and legal framework:
The importance of effective Diaspora relations and opportunities for engagement is recognized in the legal and public policy framework of the Somaliland Government. Under the Presidential Decree No JSL/M/DM/249/0133/08210 of 26/8/2010 on Organization of Government, the Diaspora Agency was established as a major portfolio under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation is under the process of finalizing the formation of a National Diaspora Policy and Five Years Strategic Plan aligned with the State Foreign Policy & Public Diplomacy Strategy, the Somaliland National Development Plan and Somaliland Vision 2030; and which emphasizes the need for creating an enabling environment to address identified challenges in deepening the engagement with Diaspora communities. Among these are improving service delivery, creating incentives, information and opportunities for investment, and creating pathways for the talent and human resources capabilities of Somaliland’s in Diaspora to contribute to development.
The current Somaliland Government emboldened immediate finalization of the National Diaspora Policy and in this way to facilitate effective flows of information and investments. It is anticipated that the measures proposed will harness massive contribution of Somalilanders abroad towards the national development. The Somaliland President has on the other hand encouraged the Diaspora to take advantage of investment opportunities unfolding in the regions which are the new centers of development. He has called on the Diaspora to get involved in the development of the nation and contribute to the formulation of the county development plans. Furthermore, the Head of state has urged Somalilanders in the Diaspora to form strong associations which will not only assist the Government in engaging them but also help them lobby for the national interests and recognition.
It is against this background of policy framework support that the Diaspora Conference is proposed being aligned to strategic objectives at the national, regional and government institution level, it is a worthwhile endeavor.
The 3rd Annual Diaspora Conference of Somaliland:
Somaliland Diaspora Agency (SLDA) in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation of the Republic of Somaliland is planning to hold the 3rd Annual Diaspora Conference under the theme “Experiences of the Diaspora & the Situation at Home” in August 2016. Previous conferences were successful in bringing Somaliland Diaspora and representatives of the Somaliland government together to discuss critical issues on Somaliland’s political transition, economic opportunities and the important role of the Diaspora in the nation’s development. The previous two conferences laid a foundation for future conferences and long term engagement between the Somaliland government and the Diaspora community in the USA, EU and Middle East. As with previous years, future conferences will help consolidate the gains and achievements from engagements of this type.
The proposed Diaspora Conference will combine a variety of engagement platforms: plenary, panel discussions, break-out sessions and a themed exhibition. These are some of the ways the Conference will provide increased opportunities for interactions among participants. It is intended to be responsible for the various expectations of the participants and interests in being a part of this endeavor.
The Conference Aims & Objectives:
The 3rd Annual Conference of Somaliland Diaspora aims to bring together academic professionals and intellectuals from Somaliland Diaspora communities worldwide as well as investors and entrepreneurs of Diaspora individuals and groups and locals with successful business backgrounds, catalysts, business support organizations, national and international development partners, influential and prominent persons, cultural icons, educationalists, researchers and key government ministries; in order to provide a premier platform the participants to discuss a variety of important topics regarding the ways to successfully engage the Diaspora in the homeland development, identify the vital challenges impeding the Diaspora participation in the investment and the national development agenda and at the same time come up with recommendations for responsive measures in the sector and the migration development in general. Marking of a National Diaspora Day is also put as an agenda for this conference. The conference recommendation on marking the day will be submitted to the President who will issue a decree on declaring the National Diaspora Day first time in the history of Somaliland
The thematic areas for discussion include Diaspora unity, Investment, utilizing the Diaspora expertise and knowledge transfer, services to the Diaspora, Diaspora participation in the NDP and Somaliland Vision 2030 and the required mechanisms for the sector evaluation, challenges to the Diaspora engagement, role of the Diaspora in the national recognition seeking strategy and other relevant topics.
Furthermore, Somaliland Diaspora Agency in consultation with Somaliland MOFA proposed marking of a National Diaspora Day and the idea has been agreed to put as an agenda in this conference for more discussions of the merits of conducting an annual week-long celebrations as the National Day of Somaliland Diaspora Day in which information sharing and acknowledge of knowledge and experiences, Diaspora awareness in the local potentials and fundraising efforts will be undertaken under the theme selected each year.
There is a necessity in overcoming existing challenges that impede Diaspora unity e.g Community governance, coordination between the communities. There are efforts to re-establish the Diaspora forum and ultimately engender a united front. A United Diaspora community will exponentially magnify capability and lead to efficient use of
In order to facilitate and/or solicit increased investment from the Diaspora there is a need to address the limiting constraints. One constraint is Diaspora confidence in the Somaliland investment environment. There is a need in awareness building in the legislative, financial and human resources capacity of the country. Where deficiencies exist, there needs to be clear evidence and/or action plans in place to mitigate deficiency. A well informed Diaspora with confidence to invest is our expectation of this objective. Advancements in banking and investment regulations, developments in insurance and other factors that contribute to the diaspora trust will be presented. The Minister of Somaliland Trade & Investment will deliver a paper on the Somaliland Investment Environment.
Capitalizing on Diaspora intellectuals:
Diaspora contribution to Somaliland’s developmental aspirations spans, policy, financial, education, cultural etc. The purpose of this objective is to derive the potential tangible contributions offered by the Diaspora. Specially in addressing poverty reduction, reducing inequality, quality education and clean energy to name a few. Further papers on the proper utilization of the professional Diaspora knowhow and experiences are encouraged for accommodation in discussions or as part of the conference outcome paper to be published.
Services to the Diaspora:
The Diaspora needs a wide variety of services when they return home and when living abroad as well. Provision of the required services to the Diaspora is a vital contribution to the Diaspora engagement in the homeland development. The inefficient or absent service deliveries for the Diaspora and/or all citizens at home will be identified, it is expected to recommend responsive solutions. One stop-stop-shop for assistance with investment and/or incorporation showcase success stories, available potential, Diaspora data management systems and other relevant topics incorporated with these will also be covered.
Diaspora role in the recognition seeking:
Somaliland MOFA considered the importance of mobilizing the Diaspora and enabling them in the recognition seeking strategy, consequently implemented formation of Diaspora Recognition Committees in all countries with significant Somaliland Diaspora. At this early stage, there are certain committees who have acted well with mutual collaboration and cooperation between the committees, and the respective representatives established such as in Sweden. The best practices of certain committees and papers on proposed strategies aligned with the state foreign policy and public diplomacy strategy will be presented.
Integrating the Diaspora engagement in the National Development of Somaliland:
The Planning Department of the Ministry of National Planning & Development will elaborate the process of reviewing the ending NDP, the new NDP 2016-2021 development and Somaliland Vision 2030, the strategies and opportunities to engage the Diaspora in the national development plan implementation as well as the consideration of mechanisms to evaluate the Diaspora contribution in the NDP that to be put in place in cooperation with SLDA.
Marking National Diaspora Day:
Somaliland Diaspora Agency in consultation with Somaliland MOFA proposed marking of a National Diaspora Day and the idea has been agreed to put as an agenda in this conference for more discussions of the merits of conducting an annual week-long celebrations as the National Day of Somaliland Diaspora Day in which information sharing and acknowledge of knowledge and experiences, Diaspora awareness in the local potentials and fundraising efforts will be undertaken under the theme selected each year. Upon expected recommendations from this upcoming conference on marking this day, the President of Somaliland will then issue a decree on the declaration of the National Diaspora Day of Somaliland.
Formation of Somaliland National Diaspora Policy:
SLDA in cooperation with MOFA has since years been busy in drafting the National Diaspora Policy and Five Years Strategy based on the National Development Plan, Somaliland Vision and the State Foreign Policy and in consultation with the Diaspora professionals and community groups. The Agency submitted the Establishment Act to the Cabinet in June 2016 for approval and at the same time drafted the Policy/strategy document. The proposed conference outcome and recommendations will be an opportunity for the finalization of the National Diaspora Policy. The short and midterm strategies of the Diaspora engagement will also align with the regional level migration development and Diaspora engagement plans and per the jointly made action for the region Diaspora-oriented institutions at the IGAD/ADPC Consultative Meeting for the Diaspora Engagement in the Homeland Development at Addis Ababa on 6-7 June 2016.
Methodology process of the conference:
The Conference will be held on tentative dates (August 2nd – 3rd 2016). Throughout the two days, the conference will combine a variety of engagement platforms, plenary and panel discussions break-out sessions, themed exhibitions, more networking will take place and opportunities for more interactions among participants will be encouraged also based on the review feedbacks of the previous events’ participants.
Call for submission of research papers:-
SLDA is calling for the interested participants to submit their research papers on the following topics or other topics incorporated with these and relevant to the conference theme – aims and objectives:-
- Strengthen the Diaspora Unity;
- Improve the Diaspora Investment in homeland;
- Capitalizing the Diaspora knowhow and human resources;
- Services to the Diaspora;
- Marking the National Diaspora Day and the ways to make benefit of the event in the annual celebrations of the day;
- Enable active Diaspora role in the recognition seeking strategy;
- Formation of National Diaspora Policy & Strategy;
- Diaspora Participation in the NDP and the required mechanisms for evaluation.
The research papers must be submitted to the email firstname.lastname@example.org before the deadline 27th July. Only the research papers submitted before the deadline will be reviewed by the Conference Planning & Organizing Committee and contacted for selection or rejection.
Somalilanders of both locals and Diaspora who have business ideas are also encouraged to apply to attend this conference and present their business ideas to the conference if their areas are accepted for presentation on reviewing by the Conference Committee.
Participant registration process:
Registration of participants is going on at SLDA Office in the Compound of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation of the Republic of Somaliland in the service hours of 7:30 AM – 1:30 AM. Participants will be registered in accordance to the selection criteria set up by the Conference Planning & Organizing Committee. The Applicant will be verified with his/her foreign ID with photo (Passport or other identity) for being a Diaspora member. The registered applicant will also take the foreign ID with him/her to the venue on the event day to again help the Organizers make sure the right person registered is attending the event and will then be handed with the Official Participant Card. Such verification with the foreign ID is also suggested for our security precaution.
Interested applicants of Somaliland Diaspora coming from abroad and who confirm their participation by contacting email@example.com will also be registered, be notified of updates and contacted for further details by the Organizing Chair.
Only the applicants who visit the office and get registered or who in other way confirm their participation if coming from outside before the deadline 27th July will be registered as participants for this conference.
For further details, please contact the below Organizers:
- Mr. Kamaldin Abdullahi, Tel: 063 3679686 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
- Ms Fatima Mohamed, Tel: 063 3870396 Email: email@example.com
Criteria for selection of participants:
The Conference Planning & Organizing Committee made the following criteria for the selection of the participants required to attend this conference:
- Investors, catalysts and business support organizations;
- Professionals and intellectuals;
- National and international development partners and
- Influential personalities, activists, volunteers, faith leaders, cultural icons, educationalists and researchers
Members of the Conference Planning & Organizing Committee:
SLDA assigned a group of professional Diaspora members to help organizing and preparations of this conference including the below members:-
- Mr. Kamaldin Abdillahi, Chairperson
- Mr. Farah Abokor Khaireh, member
- Ms. Ayan Osman, member
- Mr. Ali Egeh Du’ale, member
- Mr. Ahmed Hussein Abbi, member
- Mr. Ali Aden Ahmed (Ali Haruuri), member
- Ms. Sahra Mohamed Abdi (Sahra-warabe), member
- Mr. Abdirashid Barkhad, member
- Khadra Ali, member
Foundation for the Next Somaliland Diaspora Annual Conference 2017:
This year’s conference is also intended to serve as a foundation for the next year’s conference and calling for the research papers of the same thematic areas as this year, the alike and the relevant topics before July 2017. This is to allow more enough time for the researchers and the educators to prepare the topics and make submission before the deadline next year Insha Allah. The suggested research papers SLDA is calling for the next year conference is not limited to the following but include:-
- Culture/language divergence across the communities;
- Acclimatizing the Diaspora to become conscious investors;
- Sensitization of local communities to recognize benefits of advocating for Diaspora investment;
- The best practices for Diaspora engagement and migration development and the lessons learned from successful countries in the Diaspora engagement and migration management;
- Enable active Diaspora participation in the recognition seeking strategy and the Somaliland public diplomacy implementation;
- The beneficial schemes to unite the Diaspora contribution to the national development and to the Diaspora trust building;
- Improving the Diaspora remittance flow;
- The key issues that influence and affect the success and failures of the Diaspora communities living abroad as individuals, families and community;
- Role of Somaliland ambassadors in mobilizing, mapping and engaging the Diaspora in the homeland development;
- The appropriate approaches of mapping and registration of Somaliland Diaspora population;
- Strategies and initiatives to introduce more professional Diaspora volunteerism in the public service delivery;
- Complications of the migration and the Diaspora on the societal and economic aspects and the foreseeable consequences in the long term;
- Addressing the root causes of the migration and the youth at risk; END
Previous Annual Diaspora Conferences:
The 1st Somaliland Annual Diaspora Conference was held on 17th–18th July, 2011 at Maansoor Hotel under the theme “Strengthening the Role of Diaspora in Economic Growth and Development.” SLDA organized that conference in cooperation with the Non State Actors (SONSAF).” Read the published report and the produced declarations in Somali and in English versions.
The 2nd Somaliland Annual Diaspora Conference was held on 27th-28th July 2011 at Ambassador Hotel under the theme “Diaspora Investment.” SLDA organized that conference in cooperation with Transparency Solutions (TS), Development Alternatives Inc. DAI PEG and local business firms including Dahabshiil and OGF.
Somaliland Diaspora Agency
Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation of Somaliland
Hargeisa, Republic of Somaliland
5th July, 2016, firstname.lastname@example.org