Dark clouds of misfortune loomed over Somalia the beautiful, darkening her once bright face and gorgeous body of flowing rivers and settled nature. Hopelessness weighs heavy on her heart as poverty unfolds a new row of violence while the scars of old grievances are left in itching pain. Desperation infinitely evolves into devious syndicates, the most infamous product of her evolution being a breed of radicals and the pirates in the high seas. As these dark clouds of difficulty, calamity and misfortune seize the skies, is there an extent of hope and consolation to those who are under this cloud of misfortune? Personified in Greek mythology as “Elpis,” the term hope reincarnates itself in history’s timeline enabling the men of its day to get through anxiety at ease. After decades of political and economic stagnation that kept my kinsmen in poverty and Gloom, signs of the long awaited hope reincarnating itself in Northern Somalia’s Laasqoray begin to show.
On the first of June 2012, inhabitants of Laasqoray witnessed a historical moment, an essential progress that revived the spirit of a decade old project. Three vessels carrying equipments and foreign expertise docked in the town’s 400 year old jetty, marking a milestone achievement that took residents of the coastal town by surprise. Residents were full of praise and unbridled joy for with very little words ‘a lifeless town recapturing its soul.'
Overview of the Laasqoray Jetty Project:
The Laasqoray Jetty Redevelopment project was first proposed by the former Horn-relief, now ADESO organization along with members of the Makhir diaspora. The project aims to contribute to long term economic recovery and improve community service structures in Northern Somalia by redeveloping the former Laasqoray Jetty. It also intends to prevent humanitarian crisis from escalating in Sanaag and Haylaan Regions through the provision of a regular internal support from the profits generated by the port.
The former Horn Relief, led by Fatima Jibril are accredited with tremendous amount of work ranging from technical surveys and feasibility study to a detailed design of the port which was finalized, and even the purchase of a million dollar construction equipments which is still being held by ADESO/Horn Relief. The project has been through many phases and its efforts in the past few years came to a decline as Oxfam, a major donor withdrew support reckoning with insecurity and the rise of high seas piracy in the horn of Africa.
This unpleasant news painted a bleak future for the project. A new hope emerged suddenly as the Government of Kuwait indicated a commitment to construct the jetty early last year (2011). One of the deciding factors for the Government of Kuwait to acknowledge this proposed project was the extensive amount of work that was done by the former Horn Relief and the Makhir Diaspora. Despite Kuwait’s new commitment, the project has not been pushed through implementation by Kuwait Fund thus far.
Faysal Hawar’s New Approach:
Faysal Hawar, an engineer by profession is the current CEO/President and Co-Founder of International Somalia Development Foundation (ISDF) and Maakhir Resource Company, an independent non-profit Economic Development / Community Foundations, providing professional support to Government entities in Somalia through capacity building, rebuilding of vital Infrastructure, advocacy for good governance, more importantly attracting re-entry of FDI’s into Somalia’s relatively stable regions, so to sustain prevailing peace and stability. Throughout the years, Faysal facilitated and brokered many partnerships between various African entities and foreign investors. Among others, the following is a glimpse of the work he has been involved in;
Faysal Hawar believes that FDI’s can contribute significantly to local economic development and can integrate isolated mountainous Sanaag to a world economy. “We can change the dynamics of our region,” stated Faysal in an interview with Somali Public Radio. One might ask, how do you convince investors of whom the mention of Somalia evokes images of civil unrest, war, poverty, disease, and mounting social problems? While Faysal acknowledges the difficulty of the task, he stresses on the profitability of prospective projects in his dialogue with investors. While the problems southern Somalia face are widely known and dominate the perceptions of the country as a whole, Mr. Hawar notes that there are a number of positive aspects that, although highly relevant for foreign investors, are little known.
A champion of a new strategy in Somalia, Mr. Hawar began implementing the first phase of the jetty reconstruction on the first of June. "While we acknowledge preceding efforts from the community, our model and strategy is different" Mr. Hawar tells Somali Public Radio. The new model he refers to is FDI's (foreign direct investment), a vicinity that Mr. Hawar has a meticulous background in.
Local politicians are supporting this fairly new model in Somalia. Mr. Yusuf Jama Dibad, mayor of Laasqoray, told Somali Public Radio that foreign investments are needed for the region and the country to achieve a sustainable high trajectory of economic growth. In testifying his support for this project, he states "The significance of this project is that its risk free to the region and brings with it the advantages of advanced technology, infrastructure and assured new markets."
Ever since the arrival of the colonial powers early last century, development was poised to a decline mode in this part of northern Somalia. The scars of colonial brutality are still visible in the form of ruined infrastructure, collapsed traditional rule (Sultanate), and scores of shattered lives and livelihood. Despite this, the remarkable resilience of this community has led to Diaspora and private sector doing an impressive job maintaining certain services such as education, health and water. Moreover, Faysal Hawar’s new model will Insha’allah be instrumental in creating new private sector that will pave the way for the reconstruction of Somalia. So long as good governance, consistent market friendly policies, and the rule of law are set precedent, Somali regions will attract various levels of FDI's.
Abdulqudus N. Donyale is an editor and a co-founder of Somali Public Radio. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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