As stakeholders focusing on advancing renewable energy in the Somali peninsula are gathering for a four-day forum in Hargeisa from Saturday 20th to Tuesday 23rd February.
Less than a third of Somalis are estimated to have access to electricity, for which they pay amongst the highest tariffs in the world. But the Horn of Africa has about the best potential in the continent for onshore wind power and one of the highest rates of daily solar radiation in the world.
Dahabshiil Group is keen to advocate the mainstream application and consumption of solar technology. The Somali territories have an abundance of solar energy that can be harnessed to both decrease cost-inefficiencies for businesses and provide a safer and more sustainable clean energy solution for hundreds of communities across the region.
Ms. Hodan Ali Hassan, Head of business development and Marketing speaking on behalf of Dahabshiil group of companies at the forum said, “First of all, I would to welcome you here in Hargeisa, Somaliland and as you’ve seen already, Somaliland is a safe country, secondly, I would also like to thank Shuurko for supporting and organizing the event .
“Furthermore the holding of this forum here in Hargeisa will change the perspective people have on the Somali regions and as you can see all types of people have converged here from the West , Asia , Africa and everywhere, so we are happy to welcome you here,” she said.
Ms. Hodan added, “Dahabshiil group has being with Somali people for over the past 40 years and has being acquainted in supporting our business especially in the renewable energy sector and we want to change environment stop depending on trade only and start to produce things within the country and instead move forward by promoting investment hence we are ready to work hand in hand with all partners.
Micro-loans are a vital tool for farmers and rural entrepreneurs to upgrade their businesses or invest in the next growing season.
MicroDahab now has the potential to help the most vulnerable adapt to climate change by providing individuals and households with a means of accumulating and managing the assets and capabilities needed to become less susceptible to shocks and stresses or cope with their impact. Agribusiness remains the most prominent trade in the Somali territories given the favourable conditions for agricultural development.
The water pumps project is a pilot for a wider social impact agenda driven by Dahabshiil Group to provide enterprising micro business owners with access to machinery such as tractors and irrigation equipment coupled with an education programme to increase technical know-how among agriculture professionals.
Dahabshiil Group has partnered with the African Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), among others, to launch the MicroDahab initiative. The fund manages a portfolio of $200 million across the African continent and is supported by the governments of Australia, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, as well as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Simon Karunditu, project advisor for AECF, added: “We came in at a time when there were no commercial microfinance institutions in the Somali regions. The investment that we have provided is testament to the stability of the region and the track record of Dahabshiil.
“The availability of credit and a savings culture underpin the pillars of global banking. We aim to help re-establish financial systems in post-conflict and fragile countries and have chosen to do so in Somalia by partnering with MicroDahab.”
The solar powered water pumps project was announced at a gala event that marked the one-year anniversary of MicroDahab. Since MicroDahab was created in July 2014 to provide financial products to unbanked communities in remote areas who otherwise struggle for access to finance. Already, MicroDahab has invested a gross financing of over $1 million.
The initiative has served over 15,000 beneficiaries — which has created new employment opportunities — while 70 per cent of MicroDahab’s customers are female and predominantly low-income earners.
The success of MicroDahab follows the wider shift throughout Africa towards creating financial services products that increase access to finance and cater for low-income individuals. In a similar vein, last year, Dahabshiil Group launched eDahab, a mobile payments platform that enables micro-transactions and better management of funds received through remittance transfers.
The microfinance model is an alternative to the retail finance model prevalent in mainstream banking, as it is estimated that around 80 per cent of the continent’s population is unbanked.