The Republic of Somaliland has Diaspora population roughly estimated over 600,000 spread across Europe, North America, Middle East, Australia and Africa.. Contributions of the Somaliland Diaspora have long been noted as quite significant to the Somaliland economy and to development Somalilanders in the Diaspora have for decades been resourceful in the reconstruction, peace restoration, state building, economic investment, democratization process and/or the political transition by advocating for the good governance and strengthening the country’s democracy. According to reports, it is estimated that the Diaspora remittance exceeds $500 million dollars a year and that the remittance represents a major part of the per capita income for both urban and rural communities. There are thousands of professionals, entrepreneurs, intellectuals and experts from the Diaspora who invested variety of businesses, brought business innovations, established modern hotels, hospitals, schools, universities etc, invested factories and entered for the institutional building serving the government, developing tools, working with local and international NGOs, lecturing in universities and many running their businesses which has greatly contributed to the economic growth, employment opportunities and government revenue as well
Somaliland Diaspora Agency (SLDA) in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation of the Republic of Somaliland is planning to hold the 3rd Annual Diaspora Conference under the theme “Experiences of the Diaspora & the Situation at Home” in August 2016. Previous conferences were successful in bringing Somaliland Diaspora and representatives of the Somaliland government together to discuss critical issues on Somaliland’s political transition, economic opportunities and the important role of the Diaspora in the nation’s development. The previous two conferences laid a foundation for future conferences and long term engagement between the Somaliland government and the Diaspora community in the USA, EU and Middle East. As with previous years, future conferences will help consolidate the gains and achievements from engagements of this type.
The proposed Diaspora Conference will combine a variety of engagement platforms: plenary, panel discussions, break-out sessions and a themed exhibition. These are some of the ways the Conference will provide increased opportunities for interactions among participants. It is intended to be responsible for the various expectations of the participants and interests in being a part of this endeavor.
The 3rd Annual Conference of Somaliland Diaspora aims to bring together academic professionals and intellectuals from Somaliland Diaspora communities worldwide as well as investors and entrepreneurs of Diaspora individuals and groups and locals with successful business backgrounds, catalysts, business support organizations, national and international development partners, influential and prominent persons, cultural icons, educationalists, researchers and key government ministries; in order to provide a premier platform the participants to discuss a variety of important topics regarding the ways to successfully engage the Diaspora in the homeland development, identify the vital challenges impeding the Diaspora participation in the investment and the national development agenda and at the same time come up with recommendations for responsive measures in the sector and the migration development in general. Marking of a National Diaspora Day is also put as an agenda for this conference. The conference recommendation on marking the day will be submitted to the President who will issue a decree on declaring the National Diaspora Day first time in the history of Somaliland.
The thematic areas for discussion include Diaspora unity, Investment, utilizing the Diaspora expertise and knowledge transfer, services to the Diaspora, Diaspora participation in the NDP and Somaliland Vision 2030 and the required mechanisms for the sector evaluation, challenges to the Diaspora engagement, role of the Diaspora in the national recognition seeking strategy and other relevant topics.
Furthermore, Somaliland Diaspora Agency in consultation with Somaliland MOFA proposed marking of a National Diaspora Day and the idea has been agreed to put as an agenda in this conference for more discussions of the merits of conducting an annual week-long celebrations as the National Day of Somaliland Diaspora Day in which information sharing and acknowledge of knowledge and experiences, Diaspora awareness in the local potentials and fundraising efforts will be undertaken under the theme selected each year.
For further details of this conference as well as called research papers for both this year’s event and for the next year’s conference of Somaliland Diaspora Agency, visit the website http://sldiasporaagency.org/
Somaliland Diaspora Agency
Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation of Somaliland
Hargeisa, Republic of Somaliland,
13th July, 2016