Somalia, a country recovering from conflicts and civil war, has one of the lowest employment rates in the world and its youth face several understated challenges as the country tries to recover. Among these challenges is a severe lack of job opportunities, even for the Somalis graduating from local institutions and Universities each year. The key to a viable future for Somalia is with its youth, but without a viable plan to increase education and economic opportunity the difficulty the country faces now will easily be passed on to coming generations.
Currently Somalia is facing a severe problem of unemployment, with statistics showing 54 percent of the country is out of work. Among them 60% of the youth are in need of employment opportunities, according to the Ministry of Youth and Sports. As the vast majority of the Somali population is under 30, we can easily see that those affected most often are the younger generations.
The long civil war, and subsequent unrest and power struggles, of the East African nation has stalled much of the industry, production and business in the country and as a result this has prevented the youth inside the country from having access to opportunities for employment their parents and grandparents would have had. The unemployment rate is currently one of the highest in the world, and as a result man Somalis have migrated outside of the country, often to Europe, in search of a better life.
In order to thrive, the youth in Somalia need education and a stable economic plan to flourish. Through the Government, UN Agencies and local NGOs these needs can be fulfilled and a viable plan to implement them can be enacted.
As of now the Somali Education Ministry has not had any formal educational curriculum, but this year 23,000 students sat for national examinations. This is only the third year students have sat for these exams since the fall of the Siyad Barre Government and civil war in 1991.
Many scholars believe that the only two things that Somalis need to rebuild their nation are education and economy.
Abdiqani Dirie of the Shaqadon organization says the Somali youths who graduated from universities also need experience and would benefit a great deal from internship programmes at work places. He said, ‘’ A young university graduate who has no work background needs experience, because that lack is the biggest challenge he faces. He tells you that he looked for a job but he was asked if he has any experience. The internship gives the people the required work experience and possibly the company or the Organization that offered him the internship programme may like him and hire him.”
The United Nations agencies in Somalia have been offering internship programs for the Somali youth for many years, but this past year UNICEF Somalia offered their largest internship program yet for 80 Somalis living in the capital, Mogadishu and across the country. The program teaches young Somalis about writing and offers photography lessons through modules every two weeks.
Programs like these provide invaluable skills to the youth, who will find themselves prepared and involve in the fields they are aspiring to work in professionally. Where media programs have proven very successful in training Somali youths in the journalism field, further use of internships and trainings across all fields and sectors could have a capable and talented work force ready to serve all of the country’s needs.
According to a report released by UN development Programme,the unemployment rate for youth in Somalia is one of the highest in the world & it stands at 67 percent.
The country’s economy has remained weak with conflict and instability which has caused many Somali youth to have few employment opportunities available to them once they’ve graduated from university. While the stability of the country is improving and the central government is becoming more dependable, investment into the country remains reluctant and local development remains slow. There are, however, some examples of increased investment and development which are cause for optimism. As an example, Fursa Fund, which is the first independent trust fund entirely funded an managed by Somalis, is hoping to create 50,000 job opportunities for Somali youths. Investment by Somalis back into their country in this way is a very good strategy to help encourage growth and stability that also helps relieve dependence on foreign aid and investment.
Abdullahi Mohamed Mohamud, who graduate from Mogadishu University, says that the lack of Government role in job creation is one of the greatest challenges to youth employment in Somalia. He said, “I think where a government is not creating job opportunities, like in Somalia, the graduates will not be employed soon.”
Truly, while Somalia is struggling to rebuild its economy there is a strong need for the central government to use what funds it has to focus on jobs and investment. While corruption has been reduced, it still results in a large loss of funds which could have been used for investment, employment or expanding infrastructure programs which would also help increase employment.
When opportunities for education and economic investment and development are made a priority in the country the youth will also gain the benefits while helping build a strong and sustainable Somalia. With increased youth employment, conflict and crime will be reduced while hunger and disease will decrease with development, infrastructure and social programs developed as the country stabilizes. It is in the interest of all Somalis that the youth may be focused on and lifted up to help the country emerge from the difficulties of the past.
-Written by Hussein Mohamed,Editing by Richard Potter.