Somaliland: Youth Migration – Solutions


By: Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi

Somalilandsun – Migration is the movement of the people into a country or a region to which they are not native, in order to settle. There are many reasons that migration is made for, including temperature, breeding, economic, political, family reunion, natural disaster, poverty and many other reasons. It could be legal or illegal.

Today, the developed world is accepting millions of legal immigrants including skilled workers, in order to cover their job market needs. International Organization for Migration (IOM) announced an estimated 200 million immigrant movements per year, where Europe and Asia take loin’s share in receiving the immigrants.

There is a large number of people who are immigrating to leave the devastation of their own country caused by conflicts, diplomatic isolation or poor economic situation. illegal immigrants are risking their lives to catch up better life. They use different means to reach their destination, while many of them die on the way. Majority of today’s immigrants are young who are wishing to build brighter future for them and family. Every day, thousands of Africans enter Europe and Asia on a wooden boats intended to carry lighter cargo across the oceans – less than half make to their destination.

In Somaliland, the situation is very much astonishing because you will see thousands of young Somalilanders starting risky migration trip to Europe and Asia, which cost thousands of dollars. In a contrary, Somalians – citizens of Somalia – and Ethiopians are immigrating to Somaliland for better life and security. A large number of Ethiopians and Somalians are occupying the low-level jobs in major cities of Somaliland like cleaners at the municipalities.

Somaliland immigrants are different from their counterparts of Ethiopia and Somalia on certain criteria including education. Majority of the immigrants out of Somaliland are university graduates, who are looking for professional career in the developed world. They are all English speaking and can be suitable into the European and Asian job markets.

However, the current diplomatic isolation against Somaliland led these young professionals to lose their right for career development and cannot represent their university degrees to employers because Somaliland is not recognized government. Ethiopian and Kenyan universities are operating in Somaliland, using the recognized profile of their countries. Somaliland student are registering in universities. Even, Malaysian universities are operating in Hargiesa, capital of Somaliland.

There are lack of fairness in job opportunities, as “Nephewism” is on horizon in Somaliland. UN and international organizations are hiring foreigners for vacancies that Somalilanders could fit. The process of industrialization of the country is very slow particularly the government is not doing any of such projects. Industrialization is famous traditional method of creating jobs around the world.

How to attract employers into Somaliland?

The government must invite British Council to Somaliland, which is recognized education entity and will help Somaliland students into world-class certificates. British Council will be an examination center for Somaliland students who are willing to earn professional certifications. Such certification will free Somaliland education from the diplomatic embargo, as they will earn internationally recognized certificates. The government must include such certification programs in the syllabus of the public universities and students will attend examination at British Council. At the end of the course, the Somaliland student will have both university degree from Somaliland and international professional certification.

For example: Somaliland universities must teach ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) / CAT (the Certified Accounting Technician) / CPA (Certified Public Accountant) syllabuses in their accounting/finance faculties. Similarly, Computer Science / Information Technology Faculties in Somaliland must teach the different certifications programs in the IT field like MCSE, OCP, CCNA, CCNP, CCIE…etc. Nursing syllabus must include CNM (Certified Nurse-Midwife) where Somaliland nurses will earn license from USA which is valid across the world.

After Somaliland students earn such certified licenses, the government must invite the international recruitment agencies to Hargiesa, where Somaliland students will have chances to meet the European, Asian and American employers. The Arabian gulf will be booming job market for Somaliland student as they are professional English/Arabic speaking. If the government in Hargiesa executes this plan, Somaliland will turn into hiring hub around the world just like India.

In 2008, Indian Premier underlined the importance of professional Indian manpower in the US economy during his speech at the US Congress. “India exports thousands of professional English speaking to United States of America per year, which contributes in economic advancement.” The Premier concluded.

Many of you may disagree my opinion of allowing the youngsters to go outside the country but there are many benefits for Somaliland at the current situation including that each such Somalilander, in abroad, will sponsor at least a family financially; the professional youngsters will be an ambassadors for Somaliland; they will lead many companies to establish branches in Somaliland; many companies will hire professional people inside Somaliland as an outsource site; and finally they will comeback with an international experience.

Somaliland government must know creating job-oriented and world-class education system is the only way to stop the migration. Unemployment is timed-bomb and will be painful, if no proper action taken. Somaliland government is not in a position to provide jobs to 2000 new graduates per year.

By: Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi