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Stock Exchange: Words You Don’t Normally Associate With Somalia, But You Should

By Dana Sanchez  Published: January 26, 2016, 9:24 pm

Beach at Mogadishu. Photo: socialnewsdaily.comBeach at Mogadishu. Photo: socialnewsdaily.comThe Somalia Stock Exchange made history when it started trading on Sept. 1, 2015, becoming the first ever to operate inside Somalia, the SomalilandPress reported. The problem is, that’s not exactly correct.

It’s true that Somalia’s first formal stock exchange has been in business almost five months — a milestone for the Horn of Africa country as it seeks to rebuild its economy after decades of lawlessness and conflict.

But Somalians have a historic commercial reputation as traders. Informally, Somalians have been trading shares for years.

Another stock exchange — one for pirates —was established in 2009 in Harardheere, 250 miles northeast of Mogadishu, WallStreetJournal reported on June 16, 2011.

The Harardheere stock exchange allowed investors to profit from ransoms collected at sea, which sometimes approached $10 million for successful attacks against Western commercial vessels.

Piracy turned Harardheere from a small fishing village to a town jammed with luxury cars, WSJ reported. More than 70 entities were listed on the Harardheere exchange. When a pirate operation was successful, it paid investors a share of the profits. A former pirate told Reuters, “The shares are open to all and everybody can take part, whether personally at sea or on land by providing cash, weapons or useful materials. . . . We’ve made piracy a community activity.”

The local government received a piece of every dollar collected by pirates and used it “— naturally—for schools, hospitals and other public infrastructure,” Wall Street Journal reported.

Fast forward to 2015. Years in the making, the Somalia Stock Exchange was founded by the Somali Economic Forum, an independent organisation that wants to promote foreign direct investment into the country, according to a report in HowWeMadeItInAfrica.

It has 20 companies listed or in the process of doing so, according to Hassan Dudde, CEO of the Somali Economic Forum. This is a way for homegrown companies to raise capital for expansion and growth, Dudde told HowWeMadeItInAfrica. Companies that have listed or are in the process include telecoms, finance, logistics and commodities, he said.

The stock exchange is in its nascent stage, and probably still has five years to go before it will really take off, Dudde said. But its existence is important for ordinary Somalians.

Banks in Somalia operate under Islamic Sharia law, which prohibits collecting interest. Certain investments are also forbidden such as companies involved with gambling, alcohol, tobacco, and pornography.

Somalia suffered years of conflict and millions of citizens fled, but some businesses and sectors continued to thrive despite the chaos. These include companies involved in telecommunications, finance and cash transfers.

Somalia attracts an estimated $1.3 billion in remittances each year. The stock exchange is a way Somali expatriates can invest in homegrown companies, according to HowWeMadeItInAfrica.

Historically, Somalians have sold shares and made investments informally through family ties and known networks in a system of trust known as Hawala, according to the Somalilandpress. Hawala forms the foundation of Somalia’s international remittance sector.

“I know female households that whenever they have some funds they go to a company through somebody they know who is part of the management – and they ask them to buy shares on their behalf,” Dudde told HowWeMadeItInAfrica. “So it has been happening, just informally.”

A Somalian government backed by the international community was established in 2012 but parts of the country are still occupied by al-Shabaab.

“What a lot of people don’t know is the amount of cash money circulating within the economy of Somalia,” Dudde told HowWeMadeItInAfrica. “We don’t have enough projects to put money into. If you go to banks you will be surprised how much deposits they hold.”

But many of the banks in Somalia don’t invest in major projects, “so your money will sit somewhere and you won’t be making any profit,” Dudde said. “In fact, you will be losing money. Having factored in inflation, your purchasing power will decrease. But if you had the opportunity to buy shares of a company that publicly trades, and that you have enough information about, you will make money from that.”

Somalia is no longer a failed state but a recovering fragile country, according to Nicolas Kay, outgoing representative for the U.N. Secretary in Somalia.

The country had stabilized in the last three years, and al-Shabaab will not succeed in undermining its progress, Kay said, according to an NTVUganda blog by Charles Onyango Obbo.

An estimated 80 percent of the Somalian currency in circulation —the Somali shilling —is counterfeit, Obbo said.

“In almost every country in the world, that would have stopped the economy in its tracks. The Somalians went about this in remarkable fashion – by taking the fake currency as ‘legal’ tender in their transactions.

“And in the conditions of war, last year the country opened a Stock Exchange, and Somali companies listed,” Obbo said.

“Anyone who has been to Mogadishu in recent years will be struck by how rapidly Somalians exploit ‘peace windows.’Within days of AMISOM (African Union Mission to Somalia) kicking out Shabaab from a place, they move in quickly and start building things,” Obbo said.

One company that listed early in the Somalia Stock Exchange is Somali Postal Express, a logistics company created in January 2015, HowWeMadeItInAfrica reported.


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Today is International Women’s Day. The following is Secretary Kerry’s statement honoring the contributions of women around the world.


On International Women’s Day, we celebrate the world’s women-past, present, and future-and recognize their many contributions and reflect on what more needs to be done to empower over half of the world’s population.
We remember the extraordinary achievements of women throughout history, and we applaud the women of today who lead, inspire, and work to improve their communities, seek solutions to conflict, cure disease, and build peaceful and prosperous societies. We pledge to young girls that equal opportunities for success will not be limited by gender.
My daughters and granddaughters constantly show me that gender does not define potential. And as Secretary of State, I’ve seen first-hand how gender bias and discrimination only hold countries back. The United States remains committed to empowering women and girls and achieving gender equality globally. We do this because no economy will fully prosper if half its population is excluded from participating. No government will meet the needs of its people if it does not fully represent everyone. And no great challenge facing the world today will be solved if we do not harness the full potential of the talent in society.
Since 2007, the State Department has honored extraordinary leaders from around the world with our annual International Women of Courage Award. Through this award, we have recognized women who have contributed to global peace, prosperity, and progress-often in the face of incredible adversity. I look forward to celebrating this year’s awardees on March 29.
From human rights to human security, women have made our world a better place. As we honor their courage this month, we renew our commitment to women and girls around the world, to landmark international frameworks like the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and to the centrality of gender equality in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Last December, I visited an organization in Athens called the Melissa Network, where volunteers help migrant and refugee women integrate into Greek society or assist them in moving to another country. I spent some time with these volunteers-all of whom were women-preparing supplies for refugee and migrant women. They are at the front lines of the European migration and refugee crisis, helping other women find a better place and a better future. That’s something all of us can do, should, and must do, and there’s no better day than International Women’s Day to recommit ourselves to this cause.
For more…
  • President Obama’s statement on International Women’s Day
  • DipNote post: International Women of Courage Award: Shatha Adbul Razzak Abbousi talks women’s rights

Safaricom’s changing outlook: A leader on a better way of doing business

By Adva Saldinger @deveximpact20 October 2015


Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom, Kenya’s leading mobile network operator, talks to Devex Impact associate editor Adva Saldinger.

Corporate leadership on the Sustainable Development Goals is not just for the largest, wealthiest businesses and individuals — it’s also about smaller companies that can help explain why the issues are important and contribute to scaling successful interventions or business practices.

Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom, Kenya’s leading mobile network operator, recently joined the B Team, an initiative co-founded by Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz aimed at catalyzing a movement of business leaders to drive a better way of doing business for the well-being of people and planet.

Companies like Safaricom can help spread the word and offer a different perspective, and he’s honored to help provide that voice, Collymore told Devex in a recent video interview.

Rather than focusing on how to extract the most commercial value, the Kenyan telecom firm is now focused on being a player in an ecosystem and working together to tackle problems. In the end, Collymore said, commercial value tends to follow.

Watch the above clip to learn more about the B Team, how Safaricom is changing and finding unexpected benefits in tackling social challenges.


Mo Ibrahim on governance, accountability and Obama’s legacy in Africa

By Adva Saldinger @deveximpact20 October 2015

Mo Ibrahim is up front and straightforward — with a no-nonsense attitude that may come from the security of being a billionaire. He’s also a man who is passionate about Africa and what needs to be done to tackle some of its greatest challenges, including addressing corruption and ensuring good governance.

And he’s not afraid to share his opinions with others, even at the risk of proving unpopular.

While most would characterize him as a philanthropist these days — in addition to being a very successful businessman — Ibrahim doesn’t quite identify with the term. That’s in part because he’s skeptical of the impact that his money can have on truly moving the needle on African development, Ibrahim told Devex in a recent interview in Washington, D.C. before he accepted the International Republican Institute’s Freedom Award.

“The [gross domestic product] of African countries is $1.5 trillion, how much can philanthropy give?” he said. “We need to focus on the $1.5 trillion. What are those people doing with that? How much of that money is stolen? What sort of hanky panky is taking place?”

Good governance depends on sound policies, but the conversation can’t even get started if there isn’t peace. With armed conflict present, Ibrahim said, there cannot be development, adding that securing peace and then combining that with governance and strong institutions the real priority. If that is achieved, he said, there will be no need for charity or philanthropy.

Mo Ibrahim sat down with Devex Impact associate editor Adva Saldinger to discuss his firm belief that governance is critically important to tackling Africa’s challenges.

Infographic: Kenya’s Water Women

Kenya’s female water tank masons are delivering measurable benefits to their communities and their country.

Alia Chughtai | | Women, Poverty & Development, Kenya, Water, Africa

Source: Al Jazeera

Reality Check: Africa is not a country

Mehdi Hasan exposes the greatest misconceptions about the African continent.

Politics, Africa, Business & Economy, Poverty & Development

Africa Not a Country 

Do you speak African? Well, neither do the 1 billion people on the continent.

Africa is home to 54 different nations, more than 2,000 languages and four of the world’s 10 fastest growing economies, but is often painted with a sweeping stroke of doom and gloom.

In this week’s Reality Check, Mehdi Hasan exposes popular misconceptions about the African continent.

Watch UpFront on Al Jazeera English on Fridays at 1930GMT.

Follow UpFront on Twitter @AJUpFront and Facebook. 

Source: Al Jazeera


 Paramedic Kenya

Paramedic Jamal Abdi explains the challenges of providing emergency aid… See clip

The challenges of being a paramedic in Kenya

30 September 2015 Last updated at 16:59 BST

The Kenyan Red Cross has become almost synonymous with emergency response in the country.

On average, Kenya Red Cross paramedics respond to about 70 emergency calls countrywide ranging from road traffic accidents, birth complications and deliveries, to emergency evacuations.

But they normally face huge challenges in carrying out their duties, as paramedic Jamal Abdi explained to the BBC.

By Lawrence Quartey

Work on a 120 kilometre fibre cable project, that will offer automatic broadband Internet connectivity between Ghana, Burkina Faso and Togo begins on Tuesday at Bolgatanga, north of Ghana.


The project, which involves the establishment of a number of cell sites, is meant to ensure improved telecommunication services within the sub region and beyond.

It forms part of the countries’ commitment to join the World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) to develop broadband linkages connecting main towns and capitals in Africa by 2012.

Ghana’s Deputy Minister of Communication, Ernest Attuquaye Armah, who officially launched the project, said the development would give real meaning to Ghana’s quest for regional integration through effective deployment of ICTs as well as boost its associated trade and commerce.

The project was initiated after a ministerial declaration between Burkina Faso and Ghana in 2009 to start the fibre optic connectivity.

Vodafone Ghana Telecom Company, the largest telecom company in the country, is undertaking the project in partnership with the government of Ghana….more

There are two million more children in Nigeria than the whole of the EU


nigeria kids

The United Nations estimates that Africa’s population will double to 2.5 billion by 2050. About 400 million of these people will live in Nigeria alone.

John Wilmoth: Putting the population in perspective

John Wilmoth is director of the population division of the United Nations.

“The statistics give you a certain perspective on the world. You see these grand trends of history through demography, birth and death and when people become married and when they move…. Read More




African science research fund launched by AESA

From BBC News


A new fund has been launched for African science, amid concerns that research is too Western-focused.

A lack of investment may threaten Africa’s development, say backers of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA).

To address this the AESA will provide an estimated $100m (£65m) for Africa-focused research.

It is also hoped that African governments will invest 1% of GDP in sciAESA 2entific work.

The AESA was created by the African Academy of Sciences with the financial backing of the Wellcome Trust, the Gates Foundation and the UK government.

Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, who helped launch the fund, told the BBC that the priorities for donor-backed research had often been set by people outside the continent, meaning that some African issues have not been addressed.

She said that the continent’s future depends on boosting African research.

“We need to be able to set our own agenda,” she added.

To start with the AESA will be supporting the work of seven African researchers across the continent.

These include Zimbabwe’s Dixon Chibanda who is trying to tackle the lack of mental health provision in his country, and South Africa’s Thumbi Ndung’u, who is researching how best to deal with tuberculosis and HIV on the continent.

Researchers from Ghana, Mali, Uganda and Kenya are also being backed by the new fund.

Related Journal:



Sept. 8: BBC’s Top Five Things About Africa

Source: BBC News

Africa 5 Sept 8
Africa 5 Sept 8 Read highlights from Africa…Play by play, every (week)day


1. South Africa has 30% of Africa’s millionaires

According to a report by AfrAsia Bank and New World Wealth, Johannesburg in South Africa is home to 23,400 millionaires, making it the city with the most millionaires in Africa. Cape Town, Durban and Pretoria are also in the top 10. Read More…

2. Almost 1 in 5 of this season’s Premier League goals have been scored by Africans

And the number of African players is increasing – while Crystal Palace has players from DR Congo, Senegal, Morocco, Ghana and Mali, Manchester United and Arsenal don’t have a single player from the continent. Read More…

3. South African 1990s star Penny Penny is now a local councillor

A Los Angeles DJ has been trying to track down Penny Penny for six years. When he finally did, he was surprised to find out he had already moved on from music to politics. Read More…

4. Nigeria’s leader Muhammadu Buhari has $150,000 (£100,000) in his personal bank account

The president declared his assets in a move to promote transparency. He will declare them again when he leaves office. Read More…

5. One South African province doesn’t know if 36,000 people on its pay roll even exist

The director general of South Africa’s North West province told the BBC’s Newsday programme she isn’t clear whether over half of the people on her payroll are real employees or who much they are getting paid. Now every employee has to turn up with ID to get the bottom of the problem. Read More…