For Immediate Release
Thursday, November 01, 2012
COLORADO, USA – An innovative initiative was launched today in Colorado, USA, to foster job creation and economic growth in Somalia and Somaliland. The program, called Shuraako (Somali for ‘partnerships’), seeks to create jobs in Somalia through supporting business development and social entrepreneurship in one of the most challenging regions of the world.
Shuraako was launched against a backdrop of positive momentum currently taking hold in Somalia. For the first time in over 20 years, in September 2012, the Somali people elected their President. Combined with improving stability in the region, many believe that Somalia currently faces a crucial turning point in its development and future. Somaliland, which declared itself independent from Somalia in 1991, continues to grow economically.
Shuraako employs an innovative model to connect businesses and other organizations on the ground, with international investors (both for-profit and non-profit). In a world where most of the news the international community receives on Somalia relays stories of instability, poverty, famine, piracy, and terrorism - Shuraako is unique. Supported by staff representatives on the ground in Somalia and Somaliland, Shuraako seeks to showcase positive business developments and opportunities in Somalia.
Shuraako then works to connect these business opportunities, with investors. Shuraako Director, Maurice Janssen, said, “Unlike those who see helplessness in Somalia, we see incredible resilience and opportunity. Our role is to support and catalyze this”.
Shuraako is supported by an online platform which serves as a global hub of information on investing in Somalia and Somaliland: www.shuraako.org. The website features an array of information and multimedia products for global stakeholders wishing to invest in Somalia, including:
· An interactive map of Somalia, which tracks around $3 billion in aid, requested by 4,000 projects, from 187 international development agencies, from 2010 - 2012.
· Information on investing for the Somali diaspora, who remit between $1.3 and $2 billion to Somalia each year.
· Videos and case studies highlighting passionate and determined stories from entrepreneurs and business people in Somalia/Somaliland, such as the Co-Founder of a Coca Cola bottling plant - the largest private investment in Somaliland in over 20 years.
· A repository of industry analyses for private investors, detailing emerging industries and potential opportunities and challenges for investing in the region.
The website is an open and collaborative global forum. Somali and Arabic language versions of the site will complement the English version in the near future.
Janssen added, “At Shuraako we recognize that in today’s highly interconnected world, rather than working alone, leveraging and expanding connections – is extremely powerful. We don’t invest ourselves, nor do we implement economic development projects. Using the Shuraako website as a platform, we are committed long-term, to working with the Somali people to connect them with key stakeholders who want to invest in Somalia’s future, such as the Somali diaspora and international investors.”
Initial background work for the Shuraako program began in June, and included an assessment mission to Somalia, and countless meetings with Somali stakeholders from business, government, and civil society, to understand the most pressing needs in the region.
Shuraako is a self-funded, non-profit program of One Earth Future (OEF) Foundation. OEF’s other initiatives include Oceans Beyond Piracy, which works on developing multi-stakeholder responses to maritime piracy. For more information, contact Anna Bowden, Shuraako Associate Director at +1 303.533.1702 or by email at [email protected].