A rebounding Somalia is ready to welcome back those who left, ambassador says


In Augsburg speech, ambassador says skilled workers and investment are needed for country’s “rebirth.”

Somalia’s economy is growing. Its government is stabilizing. And for any of those who have left it for places like Minnesota and are thinking of moving back, the country is ready for them. That was the message Monday from Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Isse Awad, who spoke to a friendly audience in a small chapel at Augsburg University about the progress the nation is making as it essentially tries to build a government from scratch.

At his talk, which was organized by Global Minnesota, Awad pointed to several hopeful signs that Somalia is turning a corner after decades of war and conflict, one of the biggest of which comes from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). After several years of work,

Somalia is on the brink of receiving massive debt relief from the IMF that would open the door for the country to start making new investments and put more money into its schools, infrastructure and efforts to create jobs for young Somalis who desperately need more opportunities, Awad said.

“Economic activity is picking up throughout the entire region,” he said. “To sustain that progress we need the diaspora to engage more in Somalia, to continue to contribute.” As part of the debt relief process, the IMF continuously monitors reforms and progress made by the Somali government. In a February review, the IMF found that over the past two years “growth has rebounded, inflation has slowed, and the trade deficit has narrowed.”

However, regulators warned that more still needs to be done to reduce poverty and ensure the economy is resilient. Awad said he is hopeful that Somalia will receive debt relief as early as next spring.

Source: Star Tribune, Minnesota