Somalilandsun – Silatech has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Dahabshiil, the largest
international payments firm in Africa, and the American Refugee Committee (ARC), an international NGO fighting poverty and unemployment, to promote Somali youth enterprise development and provide employment solutions in the Somali territories.
In keeping with its mission to create jobs and expand economic opportunities for young people throughout the Arab world, Silatech will collaborate with Dahabshiil and ARC to explore initiatives to promote youth entrepreneurship and self-employment opportunities as a means of alleviating poverty. As a Somali-founded business, Dahabshiil remains the primary remittance service for the global Somali diaspora, with thousands of outlets in more than 150 countries. Dahabshiil’s portfolio includes Dahabshil Bank International, a full service bank headquartered in Djibouti with branches across the Somali territories, and a leading telecommunication services provider, Somtel. As such, the initiative between Silatech, Dahabshiil and ARC is the first of its kind in the Somali territories and will leverage Dahabshiil Group’s full suite of services as part of an exclusive joint venture.
According to a 2012 UN report, youth unemployment in the Somali territories is approximately 67 percent, one of the highest in the world. However, given the increasingly positive outlook for the Somali territories and the relative stability in many areas, development organisations and socially-conscious private sector companies are increasingly shifting their focus away from humanitarian assistance towards sustainable economic rehabilitation. As this transition continues, providing the right conditions for stimulating economic activities, particularly for the youth, is becoming critical. Companies such as Dahabshiil have played a key role in this change.
Building on a Silatech-led online crowd-funding platform – which has mobilised more than $3.3 million from over 80,000 individual lenders to fully finance the needs of more than 2,700 young Arab micro-entrepreneurs – Silatech, ARC and Dahabshiil will explore adapting the success of this model for the Somali environment. ARC has a strong presence within the international Somali diaspora, which the initiative would look to tap into as a potential resource to help fund Somali microenterprises through the platform.
Reflecting on the partnership, Silatech CEO Dr. Tarik M. Yousef commented: “Developing a strategy for intentionally targeting younger clients represents an enormous social and business opportunity for financial institutions operating in the Somali areas. Through this partnership we are delighted to help a leading Somali company like Dahabshiil further fulfil its mission of investing in the betterment of the Somali society.”
Dahabshiil CEO Abdirashid Duale, said: “We have witnessed at close-quarters how remittance finance has helped foster development and fuel national economies across the continent. As the economic outlook of the Somali territories continues to improve, it is clear that the young generation will play a key role in the economic future of the region. Dahabshiil is committed to investing in sustainable projects across Africa. Commitment to community support and strong corporate social responsibility are core principles that are critical to the future success and sustainability of our business. In addition to the much-needed financial services that we offer, Dahabshiil will, through this partnership, be able to deliver skills-building and guidance to young Somalis.”
Responding on behalf of ARC, CEO Daniel Wordsworth said: “In spite of overwhelming challenges, Somali youth have demonstrated resilience and the capacity to adapt and survive. We believe that this initiative will empower young entrepreneurs with the services, skills and knowledge needed to help their businesses thrive, thus contributing to long-term recovery.”
With projects in 11 Arab countries, Silatech microenterprise partnerships have since 2009 financed more than 30,000 businesses and provided assistance to more than 190,000 young people. Silatech is the largest provider of youth-focused microenterprise services in the Middle East and North Africa.
Silatech is a Qatar-based social initiative that works to create jobs and expand economic opportunities for young people throughout the Arab world. The organisation promotes large-scale job creation, entrepreneurship, access to capital and markets, and the participation and engagement of young people in economic and social development. Founded in 2008 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Silatech finds innovative solutions to challenging problems, working with a wide spectrum of development organizations, governments and the private sector to foster sustainable, positive change for Arab youth. For more information, please visit: http://www.silatech.com
Dahabshiil is the largest African money transfer company, running thousands of outlets and employing more than 5,000 people across 150 countries. Apart from core remittance services, Dahabshiil provides financial services to international organisations, as well as to both large and small businesses and private individuals through Dahabshiil Bank. It provides telecommunication services through its company, Somtel. Dahabshiil has a strong focus in giving back to the community and dedicates a substantial amount of its annual profits to improving schools, renovating and building hospitals, facilitating agriculture and sanitation services, and other projects. For more information, please visit: http://www.dahabshiil.com/
About American Refugee Committee
American Refugee Committee works with people who have lost everything to war or disaster. They let us know what they need most, and we work together to develop ways to help them get it. Our programmes are as diverse as the people we serve, but they all work together for the same goal: to help people take back control of their lives. We have worked with people around the world for more than 30 years, and our 2,000 staff members help nearly 2.5 million people a year throughout Africa and Asia.
ARC is building a 21st Century humanitarian organization rooted in co-creating with committed people to provide more meaningful solutions to humanitarian crises worldwide. In response to the 2011 famine, ARC and local Somalis co-created “I AM A STAR”, an innovative platform that galvanized the Somali Diaspora to give back to those at home. The program has engaged more than 33,000 people from more than 60 countries to help Somalis. ARC’s team is led by a member of the Somali diaspora and is empowered by ARC technical support and expertise. ARC is providing life-saving services including clean water, healthcare, and relief commodities to 170,000 people.