Somaliland: Promoting Decent Work for Young People



By: FarhanAbdi Suleiman (Oday)

Somalilandsun – There comes a time in life when almost every youth dreams of one day getting a job and setting down to support his family and to have a home of his own. May be you have not yet finished the school, or maybe it is something very much on your mind after ended the university.

In many of our Somaliland generation, whether we think the time is right or not, it feels like job opportunities are more paucity.

We live in a world where every nation spends as much as the entire income of all to their youth. While in Somaliland the problem of youth unemployment is reached at the climax than ever before. A complex mix of factors contributes to Somaliland’s unemployment figures, it includes an increasing number of young graduates in the high schools and university adds to the pool of job seekers every year, worsening the situation. Slow growing economies are unable to generate enough job opportunities to absorb the young people qualifying from institutions of learning every year. Young graduates of men and women are roaming the streets with nothing to do, observing the country and waiting a chance of employment.

Another problem is the moving rural young people to the major towns in the country. With little access to education, health, economic and job opportunity resulted that young rural consciously decide to move to the big towns in the hope of greater chances for employment, as well as more exciting life, causing urban drift and also fuel unemployment rate in the country.

The majority of Somaliland’s population is below the age of 30 years constituting 75 percent of Somaliland’s entire population. This poses rasping challenges including chronic unemployment. Youth are the key to Somaliland continuation and were players in and advocates of social transformation and development in many spheres of life. They make an essential contribution to today’s societies and prepare a better future for the coming generations. Today’s young people are more considerably educated and high expectations of better life than the old generation.

Certain factors which are critical importance in realizing these expectations are very limited in their availability such as access to eminence education and employment opportunities. Somaliland young people have limited opportunities when it comes to job markets. In the absence of proper infrastructure and public commitment brought chronic unemployment which could turn into a dreadful momentum in present and the future ahead. The Global Youth Unemployment report has proved that nearly 75 million youth are unemployed today around the world. There is no clear figure of unemployed youth in Somaliland, but it is estimated roughly on 77%.

A youth status survey report commenced by SONYO indicated that only 25% of the youth had some employment. 43.1% of the employed group engaged in business, while 40% employed in the private sector, whereas 14.4% were employed in the public sector. 69.1 % of the unemployed youth have been unemployed more than 3 years, while 53.2% of them have different skills. This status report presents consolidated findings from all six regions and covers multiple dimensions of young people’s situation, but yet is a baseline survey.

Having a job provides a person not only with a source of income but also basis for dignity and self respect. To be leaders in the context of their families and in the broader community, young Somali Landers need to find a decent job. However, young Somali Landers have a hard time in Somaliland job markets; stagnant or sluggish economies that are not growing fast enough to produce jobs for growing population forced many young men and women to migrate to Libya their way to Europe in order to search better life and job opportunity. Sadly, Somaliland youth have lose the hope of finding a decent job and this compelled them to cross dangerous path and waters to better pastures, with all too tragic consequences. In the long risk journey some of them died in the way, while others arrested due to unaware of the political, legal, social and economic consequences involving in moving one country to another.

A fresh graduate from the University of Hargeisa told me, that youth of today miss out on a good quality of education and access to jobs. We have little hope in life; our future looks uncertain and our lives are characterized by hopelessness, tomorrow where shall we go?

According youth employment interventions in Africa report, African states have made significant progress in recognizing the dire challenges and great opportunities that youth present in Africa. As step forward, African union head of states endorsed the African Youth Charter aimed to prioritize youth development on the African’s development agenda.

The youth employment component of the charter states clearly that, “Every young person shall have the right to gainful employment. It states also, that government parties shall take all appropriate measures with a view to achieving full realization of this right to gainful employment and shall in particular”. The adoption and the implementation of the African Youth Charter is therefore a significant milestone for youth development in Somaliland, and this remains for the government.

Somaliland governments have not yet in corporate job creation plans in to their development frame work. And that is the only way to tackle job unemployment existing in our country. A substantial focus to be placed on kick-starting Somaliland’s economies that have experienced at minimal growth in the last years. This will entail creating comprehensive, integrated and coherent macroeconomic view and employment policies that will benefit young people through job creation in the formal labor market.

In conclusion, solutions are waiting to the government of Somaliland and its business people up to their obligation in relation to youth employment and to save the lost generation.

Recommendations on the National Youth Employment Promotion Conference.

I would like to suggest these recommendations to the scheduled two day National Youth Employment promotion conference in July 1st, 2013 hosted by the government, ILO and Somaliland National Youth umbrella “SONYO”. These following topical issues should be the subjects of the debate among the young people, intellectuals, business community and developmental partners that will participate in that event.

1. As youth employment rates are reached to the peak, and most young graduates face major youth employment challenges, youth employment policy has to be enacted.

2. Employment Bureau- employment services facilitating young people’s transition into the labor market e.g., counseling offices and linking employers with job institutions.

3. Promote entrepreneurship: enabling motivating youth access to start up capital and facilitating a broad range of services, including high quality mentoring, can be effective ways of reducing unstable and informal employment among young people and may also boost job creation.

4. Address skill mismatches: the focus of technical and vocational education. Apprenticeships, internships and other work experience programmes.

5.Farhan Abdi Suleiman Macroeconomic and growth policies: address barriers to job grows and implement active labor market measures, such as the development of employment public services.

Farhan is a Social Worker and Youth activist in Hargeisa. He holds a BA in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Hargeisa and also postgraduate Diploma in Peace building & Conflict Management at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) in University of Hargeisa.


Phone: 252 – 2 -4401132