Pulling Somaliland Out Of Poverty Can Be As Easy As 1, 2, 3! By Noah Arre

Now that our once noble cause of Greater Somalia had died forever as Djibouti went its way, NFD is out for good, Houd and Reserved area are permanently part of Ethiopia and Italian Somalia has decided to permanently place its sovereignty in coffins, it is time to pay attention to Somaliland as it is a unique entity that is doing relatively fine despite huge security threats, economic hardships, and environmental and social problems.

The June 2010 election in which the Rayale administration peacefully transferred power to the current Silanyo administration is a landmark in the African history. And President Rayale’s last statement at the podium during the power transfer is here for all to read “…Today, people have spoken and elected Silanyo as president of the country, it is important to realize that, accept it and support this new administration. We have only one government and it is this new one now…” And certainly a democracy where one accepts election outcomes and gives the reign to the elected is totally alien to all Africa as well as to the Arab world and that alone can make Somaliland unique.

And today, despite a grinding poverty in which over 60% of the population lives on less than a dollar a day; despite famine and droughts that had devastated the country’s livestock… the backbone of the national economy and its sole hard currency earner; despite silly tribal upheavals in which unbelievable crimes are occasionally committed, Somaliland has proven it exists. But sadly, neither the world community nor its tribe worshipping community is fair to it.

My dear friends, let me say that it is important to realize that in today’s world, one is worth with what one has or can offer. And Somaliland will never pull itself off the ground unless its people embrace one another in good faith; fairly share what they have and together sacrifice for the wellbeing of their country. Neither begging for hand outs nor tribe worshipping or slaughtering your neighbor, who is equally suffering, is a solution to the national problems. They have never been nor will they ever be. And it is only through collective hard work, sacrifices, dedication and strong determination that we can pull Somaliland off the ground and insure it stands on its.

Friends it is also necessary to realize that the international recognition, which Somaliland seems to have placed as the epitome of its whole existence, future and destiny, cannot and will not give Somaliland gems of gold. Rather it will only open Somaliland to the outside world and the so-called line of credit. Unfortunately, lines of credit have often proven fatal to African economies because once mismanaged they (credit lines) are truly a killer because once you default (fail to make your payment on time) your country is in for a long haul as loan values triple, quadruple and keep increasing exponentially. And there are countless examples in which nations despite their huge natural resources and high educational status have to date slipped down the economic ladder; their savings in international banks dwindled dipping below zero and their credit worthiness plummeted wiping out their national treasury reserves. And nearly all African countries are living examples. That is NOT what Somaliland should cry for because it may be far better off without it!

On the contrary, Somaliland should place its destiny in the sacrifices of its people if at all they care. And if they do, they should jump-start the self-help schemes invented in the Awdal Region in the fifties and later applied across the nation. And should they decide to do that, Somaliland will certainly succeed because where there is a will, there is a way!

Friends, the previous administrations, agree or disagree, have done more than their fair share for Somaliland because against all odds, they had put Somaliland in place as they had established all the basis of law and order. Against all odds, they had carried out national elections. And against all odds, apart from occasional heinous crimes perpetrated by a few criminals in the name of the tribe, many of who are still at large but MUST be apprehended and punished, they (administrations) had realized many achievements for which they must be commended.

And likewise, the current administration is doing its best but is in great economic perils as unfortunately, due to droughts and famine, the livestock…the backbone of the nation’s economy was lost and other revenue sources are currently scarce. As a result, today Somaliland seems to be on the edge of either sliding back into anarchy, chaos and death or else together its people must save it and help it stand on its feet so that it joins the list of prosperous countries in this global village.

Friends, I do believe that, it is solely the responsibility of overseas Somaliland community as well as the business community to unite and help the government realize its promises because it needs their support and sacrifices. They cannot afford to ignore things, remain indifferent and let the country fall as we are all together in this one boat that drifts alone in today’s stormy seas of the Horn of Africa!

What can be done to help?

By profession, I am neither an economist nor a business professional or CPA, yet I feel that it is possible to establish a development master plan that can pull Somaliland out of poverty. And a credible master plan, in my view, would focus on calling local and overseas Somaliland citizens and the business community to create private investments. And the government will only be the regulatory agency that facilitates the means, guarantees the safety and the solvency of the resources invested by the public. And investing in the following Six Areas, in my view, is both lucrative and sustainable:

(A)        The Agriculture & Livestock Sector

(B)        The Information Technology Sector

(C)        The Trade & Commerce Sector

(D)        The Fishing Industry Sector

(E)        The Mineral Resources Sector

(F)        The Light Industries Sector

The blue print of the master plan should be the following:

  1. That the government objectively selects a (10-15) prominent wise men and women team from the 6 Regions but  insures fair representation after all Somaliland has yet to mature
  2. That such committee becomes the National Board for Development and should  take the oath of the office with high ethics and integrity maintained, violators of who are prosecuted and proven guilty given severe jail terms and forced to repay missing resources at whatever cost
  3. That the NBD given the authority to immediately tap out both local and international investors for the above development sectors.
  4. That ownership of each Sector be fairly distributed to investors (individuals and businesses) from the six Regions
  5. That the NBD, under the supervision of the government, places a price tag of $2.5 million per Sector with a total of only 500 investors per Sector at a $5000/share
  6. That the NDB restricts the maximum investment an individual or a business contributes to 5 shares ($25,000) so that community participation is maximized…. Shaba, the water development agency in Borama can be approached for help in this area.
  7. That the NBD consults investors of each Region and incorporates their advice document in its policy letting investors hire the managing committee of the Sector(s) appropriated to their Region

And certainly, it is possible that this list may be imperfect or incomplete and for that business experts should be consulted.

So, friends assuming that development projects like these are initiated and implemented across Somaliland, I believe that it is possible to raise an enormous sum of money from the public for each Sector each of which may require a sum of $2.5 million or a total $15 million for the Six Sectors. And managed right, I believe that they will produce the following great benefits for the country in general and for the communities concerned (Regions) in particular:

For instance; they project(s) will take a lion’s share in community employment in every Region and at the same time boost national revenues. They will increase national GDP (the national output divided by the number of its people). And they will increase investors’ share values because as the companies grow, so will investors’ earnings through yearly dividend returns. And I believe any die-hard Somaliland supporter can afford to buy a $5000 share even if he/she has to share with others.

Moreover, to further explain how the master-plan that sounds fantasy and impractical works. Assume that the NBD divides the Six Sectors between the Six Regions and each Region given the appropriate Sector. And if a Region qualifies for more than one and can afford it, it will and should share other Sectors with other Regions provided it abides by the appropriate policy set by the expertise of that Sector in that Region whose investors should always  have a major voice over company policy.

Furthermore, in is important to realize that the traditional way of expecting the government to do miracles should end. Rather, a government is and should be a regulatory agency that only keeps law and order and is in the process paid through taxation. It is us, the people who should invest their mind, muscle and money to make miracles happen in our villages, farms, fields and in all over the country.

Friends, across the globe, it is the public that owns and successfully runs the economic engine of theirs nations perfectly well because it has been proven that the old theory of “when all own something, no one owns it” is true to the point in the business world. That is why Third World governments whose checks and balances are weak always fail. And that is why their countries go bankrupt. And that is why Socialism collapsed even in the Soviet Union superpower!

Consequently, it imperative that the immigrants and the business community realize that they are morally obligated to save our youth who die in the high seas of Europe and the Rea sea because they cannot make a living in their country. It is imperative to understand that without realizing, we made our people dependents on welfare waiting only their monthly checks and we should change that to remittance that have economic values because sooner or later our monthly support will end.

And in short, only by investing our few dollars in sustainable projects in our lands, can we change The Land Of Poverty into The Land Of Paradise. Let us realize that, come together and save our country and people from poverty, hunger, death and diseases. And let us boldly face the twenty-first century challenges by tightening our belts and together singing:

Ciidaadu waa hodan ad ku haqab beeshee:   Waa haleeladii iyo horweyn kuu irmaanoo aad ku hiranaysee.

Haybad waxaad ku leedahay dalkaaga hooyo:  Waana lama huraanee hagar lii wax ugu qabooo:

Hantiyey macaan waa midaan hoy lagaa odhaneey heleyoo!!!!

By Noah Arre

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