Dubai: How to support Somalia to build its economy, attract international investment and create jobs and a future for its young people as an alternative to taking to sea as pirates was the focus of a high level meeting of public and private sector experts on Somalia brought together by DP World in Dubai yesterday.
The panel discussion, themed “The Business Environment, Regulatory Reform and Key Economic Sectors for Investment in Somalia”, is the first of three DP World is convening with knowledge partner, the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA), this year focused on supporting the development of Somalia as part of the port operator’s on-going counter-piracy efforts.
For the past three years, DP World and the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs have co-convened an annual international Counter-Piracy Conference in Dubai that brings together more than 750 industry and government leaders to seek solutions to piracy, both at sea and on land. Piracy originating in Somalia has fallen dramatically over that time. Attention is now turning to building the economic capacity of that country.
In his welcoming remarks, DP World Group CEO Mohammed Sharaf said: “Marine piracy grew directly out of the twenty years of turmoil in Somalia and it will only disappear once Somalia’s young people have an alternative future – one that allows them to not just survive but thrive in safety, to feed themselves, to raise a family, to participate in the community.”
During the discussion, the panel stressed that the economic landscape of Somalia had changed radically over the past five years and the time had come for action to attract investment, particularly in agriculture and fishing, and in building the capabilities, scope and scale of supporting financial and other institutions. The panel also highlighted the important contribution of the returning diaspora of young, well-educated Somalis who are working hard to build economic capacity in their homeland.
The panel discussions will feed into white papers that will be made publicly available. The first is due for release mid-May. [10/04/14]