Somaliland Youth Unemployment
Who is to blame?
By: Mohamed Ubo
Why does youth unemployment taste bad in the mouths of Somaliland politicians? Why do youth lack policy attention in policy makers? Why do a few youth-friendly-measures and policies remain only on paper? Why do youth not have needed skills and Universities do not evolve to meet to country-needs and country employment requirements? Why a mismatch between market and Somaliland education? Why massive youth influx from regions to Hargeisa Capital? Why do youth migrate and do not trust the potentials of the country? Why does Somaliland discourage investments? Why not sound fiscal policies in Ministry of Finance, and not essential monetary policies in Central Bank? How do Oromo ethnic families manage to receive fifty Dollars a day in Somaliland? How could Somaliland position itself to benefit from the US$60 Billion China Announced for Africa in Dec 2015? Why has Free-market not employed its optimal? Why Somaliland Diaspora brings cafeterias instead of cooperatives? Why so many youth questions in twenty-four years down the line than available answers? If Somaliland answers these questions intelligently sure there would be a turning point for unemployed and underemployed youth.
In Africa Youth tastes bad in the mouths of African political leaders and therefore Somaliland is not exceptional. According to African economic outlook (2015) about 133 million or more than 50 percent young people in Africa can’t read and write. The youth unemployment in Sub-Sahara Africa is estimated to be over 20 percent. One out of two of youth who join rebels told unemployment as the main reason of joining (World Bank, 2011). Youth is one of the existential threats that world leaders feel as youth era is a time filled with energy, visions, dreams, objectives, hopes, enthusiasms, ambitions. And in hopes of accomplishing those dreams and objectives, they go to study through varied stages and different fields and sometimes go outside the realm of families to other countries. But in most cases, in Africa, in Somaliland, once they complete their studies in more than 16 years they face massive unemployment or felt under-utilized sensing that they are far behind their dreams and ambitions due to lack of intelligent governments with intelligent policies that can respond to the youth unemployment and youth`s alarming challenges. Almost every African governments and states have youth policies but those policies barely remain on paper and that is why thousands of African youth drown and sink in the Mediterranean Sea in every year in their way to Europe in hopes of re-inventing and re-fueling their fading dreams and objectives as they fled unemployment back home.
Although unemployment is a global phenomenon, Somaliland unemployment is at an alarming and shocking rate. According to the World Bank 75% of the people are unemployed and that is why more than a thousand of Somaliland young people flee in every month to Libya and with other dangerous routes in their way to Europe for a better life. According to a study of SONYO, which interviewed 800 people, only 25% were marked as employed and 75% were unemployed. Quite frequently, people kept asking themselves why youth migrate to Europe and the rhetoric are whole bunch of issues but the reality is a high unemployment all across the territory.
In consideration of 201 million unemployed people worldwide (ILO, 2015), Somaliland economy usually presents jobs far less than unemployment rate and If we are to blame anybody, then different actors with diverse levels take the responsibilities of Somaliland youth unemployment including: lack of intelligent governments, poor fiscal policies from Ministry of Finance, bad Monetary policies from Somaliland Central bank, lack of Commercial banks, trade miss-invoicing, hampering and holding back investments for greedy politicians, political and economic corruptions, scholars, lack of employment programs, lack of holistic campaign to place graduates to jobs, lack of needed skills for the market to tailor to country-needs, lack of evolvement in Universities to meet market requirements or mismatch of market and education, haves and have-nots go to Hargeisa philosophy, massive influx of nomads to urban cities , start-and stop of the Somaliland economy which ultimately fade-away and vanish the prospects of youth having employments in the market.
Lets us look at some youth programs that some African countries done in relation to employments for recommendations to Somaliland youth unemployment. Senegal for example came up with a very admiring initiative which the government employs unemployed youth on temporary public works like infrastructure, and that generated hope for the youth as they receive income and livelihood. Similarly Burkina Faso crafted a program which students attend both University and the industry they learn to get the needed skills and experience. According to Development Research unit (DPRU) at University of Cape Town, South Africa also developed skills training and employment subsidies which employed thousands of young South Africans. Similarly, according to Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA), Kenya developed Kenyan voucher system, paid 90 percent of job-training expense at specialized training center for unemployed young people. Likewise according to Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) in Uganda, Uganda gave a great deal of focus improving education quality; learning job relevant skills, microfinance loans to unemployed people and increased investment . Last but not least, according to Nigerian Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER), Nigeria did a number of initiatives including vocational skills-development programs, micro-credit finance and work internships in varied sectors which employed many Nigerians. And as China announced US$60 Billion for Africa development at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit in South Africa on Dec 4, 2015, Somaliland could position itself to benefit from the fund since part of the funds has been planned for vocational schools, scholarship and exchange programs with China to cope with this chronic unemployment.
Given that the incidence of youth unemployment is radically rising across the world, as youth are the hearts and minds of Somaliland, policy attentions are needed to tackle the alarming unemployment rate that traps more than seventy percent of the population mostly graduates, vulnerable groups and disabled in a vicious cycle of poverty, despair, misery and pain. Youth migration will continue as long as country X has a wage greater than country Y and as country X has a better life than country Y all over history. Government should turn the light on to see the opportunities, build Somaliland livelihood pentagons and create conducive environment for investment and direct people to chances available in the country. But unfortunately that is not the case as both government and great scholars turn off the light from the people and only a small number of groups with hidden torch and wolf eyes can see the economic opportunities from hundreds of kilometers away. However to restrain these youth pressing challenges, well coordinated and effective youth-friendly-programs and measures with even baby steps in action are urgently needed like the above listed African cases to see a light at the end of the tunnel.