After decades of protracted conflict, political fracture, and climate-related hardships, Somalia has significant barriers to private sector growth, from absent physical and financial infrastructure to recurring climate-driven shocks, high production costs, and transportation constraints in insecure zones.
As a result, Somalia has one of the lowest gross domestic products in the world, and unemployment hovers at 75 percent.
Despite Somalis’ persistent entrepreneurial spirit, new businesses are often hamstrung by the lack of components such as cold chain storage, water for irrigation, or reliable transportation. Firms have struggled to produce at a scale that reduce costs, improves quality, and meets demand.
At the same time, the policy and regulatory frameworks that govern and support businesses have been weakened by years of political instability and violence and by a financial infrastructure that lacks formal banking and accessible loans.
The Somalia Growth, Enterprise, Employment and Livelihoods (GEEL) project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), works through Somalia’s private sector to build a robust economic engine that boosts employment, increases incomes, and contributes to stability.
Since 2016, GEEL’s market-driven approach has leveraged over $33.5 million in private capital investments and created more than 7,400 full-time jobs and an estimated 15,700 secondary and part-time jobs, while signaling to the world that Somalia is open for business.