Somalia to prioritize investment in building human capital

May 22, 2024

Somalia is taking a significant step forward in its development agenda by prioritizing investment in human capital. At the Biannual Human Capital Development Forum in Mogadishu, Somalia’s Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre urged the world community to help expand investment in building human capital in Somalia.

Prime Minister Barre highlighted that Somalia has untapped resources and investment in enhancing the skills of the community and education can significantly contribute to the country's growth, development, and efficient utilization of its resources. “Human capital development is the fourth pillar of our National Transformation Plan, integral to the Dan Qaran government. Our society cannot progress without advancing human capital. With 80% of our population struggling to meet daily needs and 75% of our youth unemployed, the only way forward is by enhancing the skills, capabilities, and knowledge of our people," said Prime Minister Barre. 

George Conway, Deputy Special Representative to the Secretary-General, Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Somalia, stated, “In a country where young people constitute over 70% of the population, significant investments in their education, health, and social protection are crucial to building a resilient and skilled population capable of propelling Somalia along its forward path.”

UNDP Somalia’s Deputy Resident Representative Sophie Kemkhadze congratulated the Federal Government of Somalia on embarking on the human development journey while also underscoring the need for increasing global investment in global public goods to enable countries like Somalia to fast track human development. “Boosting human capital as a structural policy priority is crucial for Somalia's human development, peace, and stability,” she said. 

UNDP is partnering with Somali federal institutions to produce the country's first National Human Development Report and Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). This initiative, led by the Somalia National Bureau of Statistics (SNBS) in collaboration with the UNDP and other partners, marks a significant step in Somalia's human development efforts.

The event featured a high-level panel moderated by Dr. Hodan Osman Abdi, Senior Human Capital Development Advisor at OPM, which included esteemed figures such as Abdullahi Godah Barre, Former Minister of Education, Dr Saif Rahman, Economic Advisor of UNDP and representatives ministries, WFP, and UNICEF. Discussions delved into the specifics of assessing human capital needs, barriers to human capital development in Somalia, global best practices, financing strategies to promote the HCD agenda in Somalia, the integral role of effective coordination and harmonization across stakeholders, and as well the importance of data collection, analysis and utilization in policy formulation.

The event that gathered more than 250 participants from federal and state institutions, donors, civil society, youth and international organizations, also included dedicated parallel sessions that delved into education, professional training and TVET, early childhood development, health and nutrition, financing HCD initiatives, and social protection. A workshop was also conducted for participants from federal and state institutions by Ismail Santur, an audit, financial governance and management expert on governance and institutional development in the context of promoting the human capital development agenda.

Concluding the conference Somalia's Deputy Prime Minister, Salah Ahmed Jama said: "In a few months, the Somali government will complete a National Transformation Plan aimed at developing human potential. Economic progress is rooted in a developed society, enabling us to elevate our economy and gain visibility on the global stage. As the experts said, it is essential that we prioritize five key areas: social capital, financial capital, physical capital, natural capital, and human capital."

Somalia was ranked in the Human Development Index 2024 for the first time in 30 years, marking the country’s re-entry in the global conversation on human development. Over the coming years, the country’s index is expected to go up with the robust data system being put in place under the leadership of Somalia’s National Bureau of Statistics.