Hope and Despair: Defying unemployment in Somalia


By Abdirashid M. Dahir

It is much worse to be a graduate today than it was a few years ago in Somalia. Youth either embark on a risky Mediterranean journey or enjoy decent income home. Youth graduates are muttering “what are the alternatives?” We obviously hear of a frizzy migration happeningeverywhere, there are push factors and pull factors of course but to me, it seems that the latter is far stronger because tough cookies entice the masses at home. 

These days, there are no whispers of; education means nothing without a job; cronyism is on increase, and at worst I see no hope in this country.  My story is about three young entrepreneurs who are bold enough to start up their own venture by a long shot. The trend is reflected well by the youth unemployment remaining high among graduates, and anyone wondered what their options were upon being adorned as a university-leaver.

The threesome-Abdikafi Osman Ali, Mohamed Ahmed Shire and Abdullahi-are turning to self-employment since labour market miserably failed to absorb them, leaving them with nothing but for them to fill a gap. They took matters into their own hands, and initiated a flexible business to cater for what appears to be an observed opportunity in bustling Garowe.  

Seeing disappointment among educated youth, they decided to make budgeting, research designs, and document preparations, amongst others. There might be a total anecdote, but in fact youth do feel disillusioned; this is a serious problem on which policymakers should focus.  Another event in Bossaso back in January this year also lays bare what culture of innovation was embraced? Agency organized a competition to enable youths to develop business ideas across a range of matters, and identify the opportunities available.

Others may aspire to start up their own businesses, and it is quite interesting to get to know a bizarre source of friction spawning between local youths and diaspora returnees who trouncedthe former in job vacancies. For now, things may not look good. 

Laura Hammond, a senior lecturer in the department of development studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London wrote in the Guardian that she understands rising obsession regarding diaspora who is heavily involved in promoting education, healthcare, public infrastructure and private enterprise.

“However, the picture was not entirely rosy. On the ground, many expressed concern that people from the diaspora were taking jobs that could have been done by local Somalis,” finds Hammond in a research for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Sadly in mid-April, we lost about 200 youths to a Mediterranean tragedy. It should have alarmed Somali leaders and paved the way for immediate intervention and effective youth employment policy for Somalis, 75 percent of whom are productive citizens, youth. In a nutshell, this is bringing the vexed question to fore.

Jobseekers definitively continue to fall prey to unscrupulous smugglers. Besides, unprecedentedexodus out of Somalia must stop, by hook or by crook. 
Youth graduates need to follow the example set by the three and we hope that the future will bring peace and stability.

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