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Silatech, ARC, Dahabshiil join to support Somali youth enterprise

Silatech is the largest provider of youth-focused microenterprise services in the Middle East and North Africa.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

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 a primary remittance service for the global Somali diaspora, with thousands of outlets in more than 150 countries. Dahabshiil's portfolio includes Dahabshil Bank International 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 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 organizations 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.

Building on a Silatech-led online crowd-funding platform - which has mobilised more than $3.3m 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 Somalia. Through this partnership we are delighted to help a leading Somali company like Dahabshiil further fulfill 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 in Somalia 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.

Source: AME Info


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