Breaking News
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

Diaspora has big role as Somalia rebuilds economy, global ties: finance minister

EconomyMar 01, 2020 05:31PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Somalia's 2-million strong diaspora has a huge role to play as the Horn of Africa country rebuilds its economy and resets ties with major international institutions after three decades as a "failed state," Somalia's finance minister said.

Long saddled with $5.3 billion in debt, Somalia is in the process of inking debt forgiveness deals with the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other big institutions after nearly three decades of clan warfare, famine and sporadic terror attacks by al Qaeda-linked militant group al Shabaab.

Somali Finance Minister Abdirahman Duale Beileh, a longtime member of the diaspora himself, will finalize a debt forgiveness agreement on Monday with the African Development Bank in Abidjan, another milestone as Somalia normalizes ties with the rest of the world.

He signed the first of several such deals with the World Bank on Thursday in Washington, paving the way for Mogadishu to receive deeper and broader financial and technical support, and expects the IMF to follow suit later this month.

"It's a historic moment," Abdirahman told Reuters in an interview on Friday. "I'm really happy I get to participate in the renaissance, the rebirth of Somalia."

On March 31, Somalia officials will meet with Paris Club creditors, with non-Paris Club creditors to attend as well.

He said he hoped the creditors would agree to cancel about 75% or 80% of Somalia's debt, with the remainder to be repaid on strict and closely supervised terms over the next few years.

Those agreements will pave the way for Somalia to receive grants and concessional financing to build new water and energy infrastructure, fund education and expand fisheries and other potential sources of revenue, Abdirahman said.

But he said he is also relying on help from Somalis living in the United States, Canada and elsewhere, who contribute about $2 billion or 40% of Somalia's gross domestic product in remittances each year, to shore up trust in the government, invest in businesses and move the country forward.

"We need a big perception change, a big cultural shift," he said, noting that 75% of Somalis were under 30 years old and had no memory of more normal times before 1991. "It is totally a shift of paradigm, a shift of attitude."

Educated and working in the West, he said he was counting on diasporan Somalis to change the attitudes of their clansmen back home, and support a range of reconstruction projects. Women also had a huge role in rebuilding the economy, he said.

To guide its work, Somalia is now building a database of potential donors and investors among diasporan Somalis.

Abdirahman, who also holds a U.S. passport, plans to do his own outreach during a visit to one of the biggest communities in Minneapolis in May.

"You can't imagine the feeling of being reclassified from a failed state to a normal country," he said. "To be classified as a normal country is a blessing for us."

Diaspora has big role as Somalia rebuilds economy, global ties: finance minister

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email