As the Somali regions continue to emerge from decades of civil war, investment is expanding, banks are opening their doors, and Somali exports are increasingly finding markets. Those most anxious to embrace the growing Somali private sector and encourage expansion of Somali product exports to foreign markets are members of the Somali diaspora around the world. Through remittances and small investments, these individuals provide a critical lifeline for individuals in the Somali regions, as well as for businesses. As the political climate stabilizes, many diaspora members are contemplating how and when to make investments. In an effort to facilitate positive growth, the international community is seeking insight into the Somali investment climate, investor interests, and potential mechanisms for encouraging diaspora investment.
Given the overall lack of data offering guidance on the subject, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) commissioned Shuraako (a program of the One Earth Future Foundation) to conduct the Somali Diaspora Investment Survey. The survey gathered information about the preferences and behaviors of Somalis and the Somali diaspora toward channels and opportunities for Somali-based investments. Hundreds of Somali diaspora and current residents provided answers about their opinions, observations, and habits regarding remittances and investment in the Somali regions.
Recommendations of this report are intended for the Somali business community (chambers of commerce, business associations, and the private sector), Somali financial institutions, diaspora members, the global community (including governments, multilateral organizations, and NGOs), and international financial institutions. Suggested courses of action seek to:
- Develop financial and business infrastructure
- Improve the quality of Somali market information
- Connect diaspora investors around the world
- Develop diaspora-specific investment products
- Leverage locked-up real estate value through hybrid mortgage products