Somali Development Outlook: Sectors that matter most


The negative narrative which has been published a lot about Somalia outweighs its positive. To be specific, most of the publications that I have read were not futuristic about what Somalia could achieve in the next thirty (30) years. They are mainly focusing on the historical things that cannot be changed. For that reason, this commentary series will highlight the resilience of the Somali people, to establish its development foundations while also striving to cover both the current and evolving needs of its population. The Somali private sector played an inevitable role in filling that void after the collapse of our government 30 years ago.

In this commentary, I will focus on the infrastructure for the national development (Social and economic) and the productive sectors of Somalia which I will categorize according to their priority for the national economic development, sustainability, and growth. This commentary series is based on the personality of someone who was born, grew up, and had the chance to be educated and work in Somalia with a positive attitude and eye for a greater and prosperous Somalia. It will challenge the negativity and the short-sighted publications about Somalia while suggesting the prerequisites for the vision of 2050 Somalia.

Geographically, Somalia locates in the horn of Africa, with the second-longest coastline in Africa. It has a global shipping line that connects the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. Mainly the climate of Somalia is different from the typical climates that lie astride the equator. The soil types of the country are determined by the climate and parent rock which has a large influence on the soil formation and the nature of the resulting soil. The most important economic sectors are mainly agriculture, livestock, and fishing which revolves around the catch, canny, or export. Politically, Somalia has a federal parliamentary system of government in which the seats for members of parliament are elected based on an agreed clan system. Stable politics that prioritize national interests with an open mind to the world dynamics, developments, and resources are essential for the vision of 2050 Somalia. 

In this development commentary, the focus will be on suggesting ways to build and enhance both the economic and social infrastructure of the country. In addition, giving priority to the productive sectors will contribute to the self-reliance of Somalia. In brief, I will highlight social and economic infrastructure and other productive areas that will be prioritized to achieve national goals. We will delve into more detail in the upcoming commentary series.


Infrastructure concerns the systems, institutions, physical structures, people, and facilities. They are the foundation and the basis for a nation’s economic and social development. It is anything that can be used to build something on it. In Somalia, most of the infrastructures are funded privately by Somali entrepreneurs and owners. Infrastructure can be classified as economic or social infrastructure. Social infrastructure focuses on building people’s attitudes, mindset, personality, spirit, trust, and health. it is the design of a strong education and health system and an independent judicial system. The focus will be the quality-of-service delivery and improving the learning curve. This will contribute to the establishment of a strong economic and business infrastructure in the country. 

Economic Infrastructure includes systems that will facilitate the country’s economic activities such as the water system, the energy system, the communication system, and the transportation system. Aiming to strengthen those infrastructures will pave the way to create more job opportunities, take advantage of both the service and manufacturing economy and attract foreign investors and companies.

With a stable and inclusive political environment and sound reconciliation among Somali people with a vision of making Somalia great and prosperous, we can develop the most sophisticated social and economic, and business infrastructure within a short period. A common intrinsic goal, mutual interest, strong mindset, and positive attitude among Somali people will set a foundation for developing our productive sectors such as fishing, farming, livestock, and tourism. 


Productive sectors are the real sectors of the national economy. They are vital for the livelihood of the people. They are the industry and service components of the Gross Domestic Products (GDP).  In Somalia, productive sectors are the fishing, farming, livestock, oil and gas, and tourism sectors. They generate jobs opportunities for society and contribute to the national economy. They are essential for the industrialization and the export of goods. National prioritization of those sectors and the acquisition of technical know-how, quality and affordable drugs, equipment, and the climate are the crucial factors for developing those sectors.

Somalia has a long coastline on the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, which is one of the richest, untapped grounds in the world. It is an ideal solution for Somalia’s recurring drought, food insecurity, unemployment, and poverty. It is a lucrative business for any private business that is going to invest in the fishing sector. Developing this sector will enhance the potential capacity of Somalia to produce tons of fish which in turn will increase the revenue generation of the federal government and the federal member states of Somalia. Empowering Somalia’s fishing sector with greater knowledge and access to better equipment will contribute to food security and employment opportunities. Since the International markets offer the utmost potential opportunities for Somalia’s fishing sector, licensing both private Somali businesses to the 24-mile nautical mile that is reserved for local fishermen and giving offshore licenses to foreign fishing vessels will bring much-needed revenue for the federal government and member states to achieve self-reliance.

Investing in the agriculture and livestock sectors which are crucial to the national economy and GDP can pave the way to create and develop the Somalia we dream of as a society. A competition-cooperation mentality will set the foundation for the Somali businesses to utilize the suitable agricultural soil and land and the different livestock that live in the country. This will help them generate a large income, wealth, and return on their investments. Building strong strategic partnerships with regional and international countries, getting product certifications for export markets, and investing in skills, value chain, and technology are the building blocks for boosting the Somali farming and livestock sectors and sustaining growth in both.

Oil and gas are other productive sectors that need mutual consent and political agreement in Somali society. Proper legal and infrastructure are required to secure the benefits of any gas and oil exploration for country reserves. One thing to note is that Somalia will be a significant potential oil-producing country if several outstanding issues were resolved among the federal government and federal member states. Those outstanding issues include but are not limited to resource sharing agreement (RSA), production sharing agreement, and its management, the control and regulating body, and the Somalia petroleum agency. The establishment of basic institutions and putting in place the law and regulatory framework will rationalize the process of oil licensing round and issuing exploration contracts.

Finally, Somalia has attractive destinations which include beaches, mountain ranges, waterfalls, parks, historical places, exotic creatures, gorgeous deserts, and artisanal resources. Thus, they require protection, preservation, and utilization of those historic, cultural, and illustrious pasts. Our tourism was halted by adverse factors that can be avoided. This sector allows other productive sectors of the country to thrive and attract foreign investors and companies to strategically benefit from the young-aged, mindful honest, truthful Somali labor force. 

However, to get the attention of the world capital and become the center of business and wealth, first, it needs local dedication from our business owners, wealthy investors, media, community, scholars, politicians, and government institutions to collectively change the negative narrative of the past 30 years and focus on creating Somalia we dream based on the vision of 2050 Somalia. The first step towards that vision of 2050 Somalia is what this commentary series will shed light on it accepting our realities, dynamics, and differences and setting a cornerstone for one greater Somalia that has the most sophisticated infrastructures, technology, and paramount productive sectors.


A stable political system, mutual consent and agreement among the federal government and member states, and the willingness of private sectors and the Somali wealth business owners and investors to build and develop both infrastructure and productive sectors will lead this country to prosperity and economic growth. A competitive-cooperation mindset and attitude among the political and business leaders of Somalia with a vision of building a great, self-reliant developed Somalia will give them the spirit to overcome the challenges and obstacles to that mission. What matters most is leaving a remarkable positive legacy for the forthcoming generations of Somalia. 

Abdirahman Abdinor Mohamed, Business and finance consultant based in Mogadishu

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