RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) hosted a bimodal event on Wednesday to commemorate the impact of its Somalia Growth, Enterprise, Employment and Livelihoods (GEEL) program which was implemented by RTI International, a nonprofit research and global development institute, from 2015-2021. Representatives from the U.S. Government were joined by counterparts from the Federal Government of Somalia, local partners and stakeholders, as well as officials from the government of the United Kingdom, which also partially funded the GEEL program.
The culmination of the GEEL program marks more than half a decade of strategic focus on strengthening the self-reliance of Somalia’s private sector.
During the event, USAID launched GEEL’s final impact report, highlighting some of the top results from the project, including:
- Creating more than 23,000 primary and secondary jobs for Somalis.
- Supporting more than 14,500 micro-enterprises, with more than 8,400 businesses reporting improved management practices or technologies thanks to the project.
- Increasing export of Somali goods by $51.5 million.
- Co-investing with businesses to help them access more than 45 game-changing technologies to boost productivity.
- Facilitating access to more than $33.5 million in private investments and hundreds of loans to Somali businesses.
U.S. Chargé d'Affaires ad interim Colleen Crenwelge stated, “Through the USAID GEEL program, we’ve seen Somali farmers, fisherfolk, small businesses, banks and entrepreneurs meet new opportunities with a spirit of partnership, enthusiasm and resilience. GEEL has proven that thoughtful co-investment with the private sector is both possible and profitable, and it’s the key to fostering further expansion into the global market.”
“Through our work in the USAID Somalia GEEL program, we’ve seen that development is possible in a complex context like Somalia,” said Nicole Barnes, senior vice president for Sustainable Growth & Resilience at RTI. “Thanks to the efforts of the GEEL program, the private sector—which was once casual and stymied by a lack of necessary support systems—is turning a corner to become a more purposeful, adept and tech-forward economic ecosystem, allowing new opportunities for Somali individuals and businesses to thrive even when confronted by inevitable external shocks facing our planet – such as climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Major aspects of the program included providing businesses and job seekers with useful and timely training and skills building; helping private sector partners make more profitable business decisions; leveraging Somalia’s human and productive resources; co-investing in new tools and technologies to improve or expand business practices; and connecting Somali businesses with potential buyers of goods in other markets.
Access the GEEL program’s final impact report here.
Read the U.S. Embassy in Somalia’s press release on Facebook.
Learn more about RTI’s work in global agriculture, food security and resilience: rti.org/food-security