IOM supports development of new National Diaspora Policy in Somalia

Published Date: 
Mon, 07/05/2021

Mogadishu – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched a new project to support the development of Somalia’s National Diaspora Policy. The policy will support sustainable development in the Horn of Africa nation by strengthening social and economic linkages between Somalia and its diaspora, including migrant workers abroad.

After the fall of Somalia’s central government in 1990, thousands of people fled the country. It is estimated that some 2 million Somalis live and work abroad. Most remain deeply connected to their homeland and play a significant role in its development through remittances, investments, and skills transfer.

In 2019, they sent back an estimated 2 billion US dollars in remittances to Somalia, more than international aid and foreign direct investment, according to the Federal Government of Somalia. Hundreds of thousands of Somali families depend on these remittances for food, health care, education, and other necessities.

IOM is providing technical support for the development and implementation of the Somali National Policy process, with funding from IOM’s Development Fund (IDF). The IDF is currently supporting IOM's Global Strategy on Migration and Sustainable Development that recognizes migration as a powerful driver of sustainable development for migrants and their communities.

The national Department of Diaspora Affairs, under the Foreign Affairs Ministry, will undertake consultations with government and non-government stakeholders, including IOM to ensure that a participatory, inclusive and coherent policy is developed.

Through the new policy, the Department of Diaspora Affairs will intensify its efforts to unify and mobilize Somali diaspora networks for a stronger and more resilient nation.

“Diaspora communities have played a key role in mobilizing resources to enable Somalia to respond to recurrent natural disasters and provide life-saving assistance, as well as support households’ resilience,” said Balal Mohamed Cusman, State Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“At the heart of the development of this new policy is migration and its contribution to economic growth and social development. The multiple roles of diaspora draw increasing recognition not only as senders of remittances but also as investors, innovators, and developers of human capital. We have to also remember the importance of Somalis who remain here and did not have the opportunity to go abroad. Strengthening the skills of the youth will remain a priority for IOM diaspora related programmes,” said Richard Danziger, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission.

The development of the new National Policy is also in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which recognizes that migration is a powerful driver for sustainable development, and it brings significant benefits for countries of origins such as skills, investment, cultural diversity and beyond.

Since 2009, IOM has facilitated the short-term return of over 500 Somali diaspora professionals through its Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA). The programme deploys diaspora experts at state institutions where their expertise across various fields contributes to boosting institutional capacity. These experts do not only bring their skills back home, but also transfer their knowledge to young local professionals through a mentorship programme.

The launch of the new policy takes place against the backdrop of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) that reaffirms the sovereignty that states have over their migration-related policies. Somalia is on the path towards achieving Objective 19 of the GCM: create conditions for migrants and diaspora to fully contribute to sustainable development in all countries.

IOM will continue work with the Federal Government of Somalia to promote diaspora engagement and help achieve sustainable development.

For more information, please contact Claudia Barrios Rosel, Email: cbarrios@iom.int and Sikhulile Dhlamini, Email: sngqase@iom.int at IOM Somalia.

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