Throughout the years, Qatar has been a consistent presence, providing humanitarian and developmental aid during times of drought, famine, and other crises in Somalia.
Somalia’s Deputy Prime Minister said his country’s relationship with Qatar stands as a testament to enduring cultural ties and a shared vision, during an exclusive interview with Doha News last week.
Salah Jama sat with Doha News for an interview during an official visit to Qatar on the sidelines of an event organised by KON Group, outlining the evolving relationship between the two countries.
“We have been warmly welcomed and well received by the government and the people of Qatar, and it’s an honour to be here,” Jama shared during the interview.
Beyond formal state-to-state connections, there is an ever growing Somali community in Qatar, with many diaspora families having lived here for generations.
“We have a very strong Somali community in Qatar,” he emphasised, underscoring the significant presence and influence of the Somali diaspora.
These expatriates, contributing to the Qatari society in various capacities, also serve as a bridge, further strengthening the bonds between the two nations.
“The role of the Somali diaspora in rebuilding the nation and sending a remittance and contributing to the education sector and contributing to the health sector in helping families has been the lifeline of Somali society in the absence of state.”
Throughout the years, this relationship has evolved, moving in pace with changing needs and emerging opportunities. As Somalia steadily recovers from a prolonged conflict, Qatar has been a steadfast ally in the rebuilding efforts.
“Qatar has been one of the key partners in the revival of the Somali State by contributing to different aspects of it,” Jama stated.
As Somalia navigates towards political stability and improved security, Jama anticipates numerous prospects for increased collaboration.
He believes that the nation’s emerging economy, enriched with resources in the blue economy, agriculture, fisheries, and natural resources, coupled with its strategic geographical location, provide exciting investment opportunities.
With Qatar’s global economic prominence, Jama sees mutual benefits. “I think we offer a very good opportunity for investors like Qatar to invest in Somalia and we have made tremendous gains in our financial regulations, governance structures, and security,” he asserted.
Recognising Qatar’s leadership in conflict resolution and peace-building, Jama believes that such expertise could significantly assist Somalia’s pursuit of peace and stability.
“Qatar can play a very significant role in our pursuit of peace and stability, economic growth, and political agreements and settlements.”
“If and when we reach a phase of negotiation, we are not at that phase for now, I think expertise from Qatar and other actors would be welcome. But for now, the strategy that we put in place is working fine and we need a strategic partnership from all actors.”
Beyond the realms of government-led collaborations, Jama also emphasised the potential for Qatari private and public sector enterprises to invest in Somalia. He believes that the African nation, with its improving regulatory environment and inherently entrepreneurial society, provides a ripe business environment for investment.
However, in addressing the security challenges posed by Al Shabaab, Somalia has made remarkable strides, Jama noted.
The government’s three-pronged strategy to combat the extremist group – military action, ideological countermeasures, and financial restrictions – has yielded substantial results.
He also underlined the vital role of the Somali diaspora in the nation’s rebuilding process, recognizing their significant contributions across diverse sectors, including education, health, and family support.
He encouraged the Somali community in Qatar to apply their professional skills and knowledge to further benefit their homeland.
“Qatar is an international hub for innovative ideas for sustainable programmes and for thinking both locally and globally,” he said, suggesting that the diaspora could serve as conduits for these innovations.
Under President Mamoud’s leadership, Somalia has embarked on a six-pillar strategy focused on political and security sector reforms and intensifying efforts against Al Shabaab.
With Vision 2063, the nation is marching towards long-term economic and developmental objectives.