After decades of war, Somalia has risen and it keeps going. Business is thriving and the economy is growing, a fact even the World Bank acknowledged in its report this year, Transition Amidst Risk.
In the report released in April, the World Bank says the country has the potential to overcome “immense challenges” to attain meaningful reforms towards sustainable development.
“So far, there are positive signs that the economy is responding: Somalis are returning from abroad, shops are opening, new financial institutions have been licensed, and property markets are booming. Somalia is at a turning point. Creating a workable system of government will be central to its recovery,” says the report.
And one consortium in Somalia wants to make this big news and change the negative perceptions people have about Somalia. “The news is full of ‘a bomb here and an explosion there’; but little is said about ‘a business here and a success there’.
We want to showcase the rise of Somalia’s business,” says the Somalia Investor Magazine Consortium. To achieve this, the group is organising the Somali Annual Business Awards (Saba), the first of its kind in the country, with the event slated for the end of this year.
Saba, a non-profit initiative, aims to motivate and improve the Somali business community by publicising positive stories and successes of Somalis through a business award system.
“Somalia prides itself in being the first country to have efficient and fast world money transfers. Business is thriving in cities and big towns. Somalis have inborn entrepreneurship talent, hence Saba aims to uncover and discover more of this hidden talent,” says the consortium.
According to the publisher of Somali Investor Magazine, Mohamed Dubo, the uncompetitive nature of the private sector in Somalia is what informed the award—and the fact that Somali people have business acumen that needs to be supported.
“Since the collapse of the Siad Barre government in 1991, the private sector is informally thriving and provides critical public sector services such as education and healthcare services.
This informality can just go this far and businesses have no alternative but to formalise, use the standard management methods and, above all, escalate their standards, administration and management thresholds,” he says.