Somaliland: “Gap between Rich and Poor Very High”-World Bank


L-R Somaliland Ministers Dr Saad Ali Dr Mohamed Omar and  Bella Bird of World bank follow conference proceedings at Ambassador hotel Hotel Hargeisa

By: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) -Somaliland which charges companies 10 percent of their profit, compared with 26 percent in Ethiopia and 28 percent in Kenya, should review its tax regime in order to reduce the existing huge gap between the poor and rich.

This was urged by the World bank during a daylong economic conference it , WB, jointly convened with the Somaliland Ministry of Planning and Coordination on the 29th Jan 2014 at Ambassador Hotel in Hargeisa where various stakeholders were in place to hear presentations on various aspects of the country’s economic status.

According to the minister of planning Dr Saad Ali Shire the recommendations of the one day conference which deliberated on Somaliland Growth & Unemployment, Poverty & Inflation and Fiscal affairs shall be used to guide the government on the way forward as pertains to how it manages it fiscal budget as well as strategies to create employment opportunities in the country.

The conference that concentrated on findings the Household and Enterprises survey conducted by the planning ministry and World Bank was more specific in its deliberations as pertained to enhancing the government’s capabilities to increase its resource base and alleviate livelihoods through job creation.

The objectives of the Somaliland Growth & Unemployment, Poverty & Inflation and Fiscal affairs included:

I. Present the findings of Somaliland GDP estimation, and explain how the improved macroeconomic data along existing unemployment data can be further built upon, in accordance with growth and development analytics.

II. Present findings of a Somaliland household survey and discuss how a poverty assessment and further consumer price index (CPI) analysis can help inform government policies and development partner programs.

III. Present the findings of a Somaliland public expenditure review, and discuss how strengthening the fiscal framework can improve the allocation of resources with respect to the Somaliland Development Fund –SDF and National Development Plan-NDP 2012-2016.

IV. Strengthen Stakeholder knowledge and dialogue around economic growth, poverty and fiscal affairs in Somaliland, including linkages to the Somaliland Special arrangement (SSA) and PFM Reform Action strategy 20134-2017.

V. Ensure a close working relationship between the3 Somaliland authorities, including the National Planning commission (NPC) and Budget Policy Committee (BPC), civil society, private sector and international partners and

VI. Encourage further data collection efforts to be undertaken, and identify particular efforts required for further developing the growth estimates and poverty and fiscal analysis.

According to the world bank the Somaliland’s GDP per capita of $348 in 2012 ranked as the world’s fourth-lowest after Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Malawi thence highly expected of the government in Hargeisa to implement recommendations of the economic conference co-hosted by Somaliland planning minister Dr Saad Ali shire and Bella Bird, World bank Country Director.

On the other hand” with 29 percent of households in urban areas and 38 percent in rural Somaliland living in poverty, according to a 2013 household and enterprise survey carried out by the World Bank from January to March “A focus on how to address inequality in Somaliland and ensure access to services for all, will be important to secure progress for all,” the bank said.

Somaliland, which has a population of 3.5 million, declared independence from Somalia after the fall of Dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. No sovereign state has recognized it as an independent nation. Companies including London-based Genel Energy Plc (GENL) and RAK Gas LLC of the United Arab Emirates are exploring for oil and gas in the country.