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The Somalia Investment Summit 2017: Somalia is open for business!

The Somalia Investment Summit 2017: Somalia is open  for business!

The Somalia Investment Summit 2017: Somalia is open for business!

The Somali Economic Forum (SEF) held the 4th Somalia Investment Summit 2017 on Saturday 29th April at the Sheraton Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Sheraton Hotel in Dubai Creek proved to be a perfect venue for the Summit as Dubai plays host to a large and successful Somali business community in the UAE and due to its close proximity to Somalia, only a few hours away by plane. The Somalia Investment Summit 2017 proved to be an engaging Summit that bought together government Ministers, business leaders, foreign investors and journalists all interested in Somalia’s investment potential.

The day began with the Keynote Address given by His Excellency Mr. Gamal M. Hassan, the Minister of Planning, Investment and Economic Development for the Federal Republic of Somalia. The Minister touched on how Somalia is open for business and how his Ministry has been working tirelessly to enable a conducive business environment needed for investment. To this end the Minister touched on the regulations such as the Investment Law that have been passed by Parliament thereby enabling greater investment throughout Somalia’s economy. The honourable Minister also touched on the implementation of the National Development Plan and the creation of the Investment Promotion department within the Ministry of Planning, Investment and Economic Development of the Federal Republic of Somalia. The Investment Promotion department is a one-stop shop that provides comprehensive information and advisory services to all foreign investors.

The Minister also stated that Somalia is considered the next frontier for hydro carbons and natural resource exploration among investors and the global business community. With that, the first panel session was the Oil, Gas & Energy panel session which included Soma Oil & Gas, HASS Petroleum and GPB Neftegaz Services. All three of the speakers in this panel included international companies engaged in petroleum and mineral resource exploration throughout Africa and the Middle East with a keen eye on Somalia’s untapped markets. GPB Neftegaz Services Head of Africa and the Middle East shared an intriguing presentation where he outlined his firm’s desire to invest in Somalia’s natural gas reserves which are untapped and have long been rumoured to contain substantial reserves of natural gas. As the presentation stated, the finding of natural gas reserves in Somalia could lead to an economic boom to rival that of the Gulf in the 1970’s following the natural resource exploration boom. The Summit then underwent a recess in the form of a short coffee networking break which offered a perfect opportunity for investors and Somali companies to meet, share a pastry and talk business and investment in Somalia. It is worth noting that the Somalia Investment Summit 2017 proved to be a perfect environment for networking and business collaboration as SEF provided boardrooms throughout the Summit where companies and investors could meet on the side-lines of the Summit to talk business and to collaborate on investment plans in Somalia.

Next up was the Infrastructure panel session which included speakers from GBS Africa, SKA International Group and Paragon Chambers. Above all, the speakers during this session touched on the importance of infrastructural development in Somalia’s economic journey. After this session, the Summit was momentarily paused for lunch which took place in the breath-taking banquet hall with views over the scenic Dubai Creek and Dubai skyline. 

After the lunch break, the Banking & Finance panel session took place chaired by SEF’s COO and including speakers from Clyde & Co, International Bank of Somalia and the Horn Economic and Social Policy Institute (HESPI). This session proved to be lively as it focused on the central role financing and credit will play in fostering entrepreneurship throughout Somalia. The CEO of International Bank of Somalia, Hassan Yusuf touched on his bank’s plans to encourage greater lending to SME’s and entrepreneurs to encourage the growth of start-ups and private sector activity throughout Somalia.

A short coffee break ensued before the final and most interesting session, the Telecoms and ICT panel. Speakers included market leader Hormuud Telecom represented by the charismatic Abdala Mohamed, Hormuud Telecom’s Head of International Relations & Compliance. Mr. Mohamed shared his dynamic vision for business in Somalia and the need to encourage Somali owned businesses. He presented Hormuud Telecom as a perfect example of a successful, Somali owned company. Abdala also touched on the innovative services offered by Hormuud Telecom such as its mobile banking service which is widely popular among consumers in Somalia. Other speakers included representatives from Dalkom Somalia and Amazon. The Telecoms and ICT Panel proved to be interesting as it represented Somalia’s most innovative and successful sector within the economy. Indeed, as Hormuud Telecom’s Mr. Mohamed stated, Somalia is considered an African success story and market leader in mobile banking and overall mobile penetration among the population. As such the future for Somalia’s telecoms sector remains limitless.

The Somalia Investment Summit 2017 was closed by its Managing Director Hassan M. Dudde who touched on the importance of continuing investment collaboration and continuing to do business in Somalia. The night was not over as the Somali Economic Forum (SEF) held a Gala Networking Dinner and Banquet in the evening which included Minister Gamal Hassan and staff from the Somali Consulate in Dubai, UAE. The dinner proved to be the perfect ending for the night and a chance for speakers and delegates to unwind, relax and share best business practice over an evening dinner.

The main outcome of the Somalia Investment Summit 2017 was that it was successful in terms of fostering business relationships and it bought together successful Somali companies and foreign investors and vice versa. The Somalia Investment Summit 2017 showed that Somalia is at its best when doing business and when businesses and investors are networking. We at SEF believe that the future is bright for Somalia judging by its vibrant business and investment community.

08 May 2017

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