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The Myth of the UNDP-Somalia Job Offering

By Abdullahi Hagi Ali


How many times have we seen such jobs advertised by the UNDP-Somalia? How many times have we witnessed these jobs ended up with the wrong candidates? Now I wonder whether the UNDP-Somalia office in Nairobi is playing again the same jobs-for-the-boys game they used to, or this time it will be different for the sake of fairness and genuinely helping Somalia’s Transitional Federal Institutions  

It was in 2004, when the UNDP-Somalia office in Nairobi advertised a Deputy Program position and another position for Governance and Finance. These positions were to assist the Somali Remittance Companies, which the UNDP-Somalia office has vested interest.   One of these two positions went to an ex-employee of KPMG office in Nairobi. If my memory serves me correct, the job description for that position mentioned the requirement of Somali language fluency among other things. To my knowledge a number of Somali experts applied to those positions, however one of the positions was offered to a friend of the UNDP-Somalia from the KPMG, who surely failed one of the requirements of that position and probably more. Is he capable of doing the job better than some of the other applicants who did not get the job? If not, why then the UNDP-Somalia office preferred some one who is less qualified than other applicants?


To understand the complex arrangements and the dubious methods the UNDP-Somali office employs one need to look beyond the diplomatic façade and dig deeper. For example, let us go back to where the personal relationship between the KPMG ex-employee and the UNDP-Somalia office began.


 The UNDP-Somalia office in Nairobi engaged KPMG staff in Nairobi to conduct conferences which were meant to assist Somali Remittance companies at least three times in 2003/04. At the time of awarding the contract to the KPMG, there were group of Somali’s who were bidding to do the same job. The Somali experts knew much more in remittance business than the KPMG staff. These Somali individuals who put together their bidding knew the Somali Remittance Business inside out. They were experts on this field. UNDP-Somalia office chose KPMG to do the job. Why?


As most of us know, KPMG is very reputable firm and they do very well in their chosen fields of expertise. However in this instance they were not the best. To the embarrassment of the UNDP-Somalia office in Nairobi, one of the conferences the KPMG expert conducted a presentation about the history of Somali Remittance Business and bluffed through his presentation with incorrect facts and figures. The audience were members of the Somali remittance companies, who knew the history of their business and they nailed him down to proof what he was talking about and the source of his information.   


Despite this failure, the KPMG staff that had trouble explaining what he was meant to be on expert on was offered a position in the UNDP-Somalia office in Nairobi. Doing exactly what he miserably failed to do with efficiency, that is helping the Somali Remittance Business. The question that came to my mind was, there are many Somali experts who qualify to such positions with the added value of knowing the language and the culture of the same people the UNDP-Somalia office serves, what selection criteria was used in order to overlook the Somali experts and employ the Indians, the Europeans and the rest ?


It is possible to extrapolate the above analysis to other UN agencies, the NGO industry and others who literally make money out of the Somali misery. Unfortunately this will continue for the time being, as along as the handouts, the false economy built on aid money and the associated corrupted practices continue. It is time the TFG of Somalia realise they priorities and get solution for the security, stabilise the country and get the stagnant economy moving. As far as the   UNDP-Somalia office is concerned, my advice is better get your cronies employed quietly without misleading the world.


Abdullahi Haji Ali
The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "Hiiraan Online"

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