SDIS Preliminary Findings & Recommendations Event

Presentation and Panel Discussion of Preliminary Findings & Recommendations from the Somali Diaspora Investment Survey Report

On April 21st, Shuraako co-hosted a presentation and panel on the Somali Diaspora Investment Survey (SDIS) Discussion Brief, and publically released the Brief for the first time. The event was co-hosted with the George Washington University Center for International Business Education and Research (GW-CIBER). The event presented the key findings on diaspora typologies, investment drivers and obstacles, as well as recommendations for improving access to diaspora investment opportunities.

H.E. Minister Abdusalam Omer, Somali Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, delivered the keynote address stressing the importance of external investment capital for Somalia’s growth and development. Two of the report authors – Dr. Lindsay Heger and Lee Sorensen – presented the SDIS’ goals, key findings, and recommendations. The event highlight was six subject matter experts who presented their take on the report and discussed the findings and recommendations, which was followed by a lengthy and robust question and answer session with the audience members. 


Download the Somali Diaspora Investment Survey Discussion Brief

Key takeaways:

  • Somalia is open to business; and diaspora and diaspora investors are eager and excited at the potential of Somali investments
  • Somali diaspora are interested in seeking investment opportunities, and are patriotic investors who are committed to the country’s success
  • Diaspora investors need access to reliable, local market data to inform investment decisions
  • Diaspora investor groups and networks could be supported to enhance their internal governance and operations, as well as improve their investment toolkit (i.e., financial products designed for diaspora investor, reducing risk by international organization to encourage capital flows, broadening investors awareness of investment opportunities, etc.)



The launch of the full SDIS Report is likely to take place in June 2016. More information on this will be made available soon. The SDIS was co-funded by Shuraako and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); and was conducted by Shuraako. The SDIS report authors are Jay Benson, Dr. Lindsay Heger, Lee Sorensen, and Alexandria Wise.


H.E. Minister Abdusalam Omer is the current Minister of Foreign Affairs and Investment Promotion of the Federal Republic of Somalia. Dr. Omer is a former Senior Associate at the Horn Economic and Social Policy Institute (HESPI), Governor of the Central Bank of Somalia, and has held senior consultancy positions with World Bank, United Nations and the Somali Government. Dr. Omer has served as the Program Manager for governance and financial services (GFS) at UNDP in Somalia, and is former Chief of Staff to Mayor Anthony A. Williams of the District of Columbia.


MODERATOR & PRESENTER: Lindsay Heger is Associate Director of Research and Development at One Earth Future Foundation. Dr. Heger's research straddles themes in comparative politics and international security.
PRESENTER: Lee Sorensen is Director of Shuraako, a non-profit organization operating throughout Somalia. Shuraako connects micro, small, and medium sized enterprises to impact investment and catalyze job creation.


Lars Benson is Senior Program Officer for Africa at the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), an institute affiliated with the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Endowment for Democracy supporting private sector initiatives to develop market economies and strengthen democratic development. His work includes public policy advocacy, anti-corruption, governance, and creating favorable business environments for entrepreneurs. 
Abdi Ahmed is Senior Advisor, Trade and Investments for the Office of the President of Somalia. Previously, Mr. Ahmed was a Director and Advisor on public sector capacity development in the Office of the Somali Prime Minister and a Senior Consultant, Complex Solutions for Verizon Communications.
Pedro De Vasconcelos is the Manager of the Financing Facility for Remittances, a multi-donor fund focused on leveraging the impact of remittances and diaspora investment for sustainable development in migrants’ countries of origin, at the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Jeffrey Jackson is Senior Private Sector Adviser to USAID’s Africa Bureau. Mr. Jackson’s areas of expertise include economic analysis and policy, privatization, SOE control and monitoring, corporate governance, and enterprise development and finance. 
Liesl Riddle is Associate Professor of International Business and International Affairs at George Washington University. Dr. Riddle has written extensively about diasporas and development, international entrepreneurship, and trade and investment promotion. 
John Samuel is Director of Product for Homestrings, an investment platform that facilitates diaspora and impact-investing to make a difference in the world. 
This event was co-sponsored by Shuraako and GW-CIBER .