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Somali businesses showcase products in Mogadishu

Storyline:National News

Approximately 40 Somali businesses participated this week in a two-day forum to showcase products and services offered by Somali businesses in a variety of sectors. The featured businesses have partnered with the USAID-funded Growth, Enterprise, Employment & Livelihood (GEEL) project and benefited from support ranging from technical advice to investments in innovative technologies and equipment. The forum was attended by the USAID Administrator Mark Green, as well as theU.S.Ambassador to Somalia, Mr. Donald Yamamoto, and USAIDMission Director Jeffery Bakken.

The event served as a platform of engagement between Somali businesses and USAID leadership to discuss the achievements and challenges of the country’s economic growth. USAID Administrator MarkGreenand his delegation spoke with various private sector stakeholders and learned about high-impact collaborations between the GEEL project and some of the Somali businesses that are actively contributing to the growing economy, generating employment opportunities, and improving livelihoods. Mr. Green said of the trade event, “I caught a small glimpse of Somalia’s vibrant private sector and the future that can be.”

The first day of the forum focused on the showcase event, visited by the USAID delegation and U.S. government officials, where Somali businesses displayed sample products, spoke about their business strategies and growth and answered questions from visitors. With the added presence of financial service providers and GEEL technical experts, business representatives also had opportunities to source investment and seek advice specific to their value chains. The second day of the forum featured sector-specific discussion groups led by senior industry representatives as well as experts in livestock (meat and dairy), fish, and agriculture (vegetables and fruits) value chains. The discussions focused on the economic achievements of USAID investments in select sectors of the Somali economy and on future strategies to meet private sector needs.

Somali goods and services supply local as well as international markets. During the past three years, USAID supported several of this weeks trade symposium attendees to showcase their products at Gulfood, the world’s largest food exhibition in Dubai, where they attracted new regional and international customers and drew attention to Somalia’s growing economy.

The forum was facilitated by the Growth, Enterprise, Employment & Livelihoods (GEEL) Project, a USAID-funded initiative that works with government partners and the private sector to promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Somalia. The project supports businesses in select sectors of the Somalia economy, particularly those owned by the youth and women.

GEEL has so far reached many businesses in diverse value chains, including livestock, fishing and agriculture, and energy.