Public Affairs Officer
United States Mission to Somalia
Wednesday March 13, 2019
U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Donald Y. Yamamoto today met with six Somalia business owners who recently traveled to Gulfoods Expo 2019 in Dubai as part of a U.S. and Somalia effort to increase job creation and promote economic development and trade in Somalia. Three of the participants in the discussion were Somali women business owners. During the discussion, the Gulfoods Expo participants described how their businesses improved due to this initiative, including through accessing new markets.
This is the third year that the United States Government has supported Somali-owned businesses to participate in the Gulfoods Expo. This year, we supported a booth hosting 20 Somali business people. Somali exhibitors sponsored their own airfare, while the U.S. government assisted with local transportation and accommodation. A true, U.S.-Somali partnership. The theme of the booth was “Somali Rising” and covered a range of products such as sesame, pulses, bananas, mangoes, dried lemons, peanuts, dried fish, and meat products. An estimated 4,000 people visited the Somali Rising booth and many sale deals were made. There are indications that total sales by the participants as a result of Expo participation will reach $3,000,000 by May 2019 and this amount is likely to increase over time.
The participation of these Somali businesses in Gulfoods Expo 2019 was part of the USAID-supported Growth, Enterprise, Employment, and Livelihoods (GEEL) program. Through GEEL, the United States seeks to better the lives of Somalis through improved income generation opportunities. The United States believes that a thriving economy in Somalia will contribute to a more stable future for the country as well as improved trade opportunities for the United States.
The GEEL program promotes inclusive economic growth in Somalia. Through GEEL, USAID accelerates Somalia’s integration into the global economy by improving the country’s competitiveness in export markets, reducing reliance on imports, increasing market linkages and business partnerships, and spurring new investments to create jobs. In regions recovering from years of conflict and natural disasters, USAID aims to boost production of high-quality fish, agriculture, and dairy products for domestic and international consumers.
Somali Businesses that Participated in Gulfoods Expo 2019
Moumin Group is a leading company in trade of agri-inputs and machinery and boasts over 2,800 hectares of sesame, banana, and fruit trees in Afgoye, Jowhar and Mogadishu. The company has invested heavily in the revival of the banana exports sector and is currently building a large fruit packaging and processing facility in the outskirts of Mogadishu at a cost of $1.5 million. GEEL will partner with Moumin to develop the facility, and plans to provide a grant of $250,000.
SomFresh Farm is a women-led company specializing in domestic distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables, and currently investing in quality improvements to meet export requirements. The company previously invested in a banana ripening center (the only one in Mogadishu) and recently purchased 78 hectares in the Shebelle River area, about 45 km from Mogadishu. GEEL linked SomFresh to Dahabshil Bank, which in turn provided a loan of $210,000 to the business. GEEL also granted $75,000 for installation and modernization of a cold room and banana ripening facility. The company plans to export bananas to Turkey and the Middle East in the near future.
Dhulkii, Land of Frankincense
Dhulkii, Land of Frankincense is a women-led company based in Garowe, Puntland. Dhulkii produces gums and resins for export, including processing and packaging of oils and skin care products. At the 2019 Gulfood Expo, the company secured an order for 5,000 kg of Arabic gum.
Somali Fresh Fruit Company
Somali Fresh Fruit Company has about 300 hectares under fruit production in Janaale and a history of exports, including large volumes of lemon. The company recently invested $100,000 in lemon drying machines.
Somali Seafood Product Company
Somali Seafood Product Company (SSPC) was established in 2005 and is based in Puntland. SSPC is among the largest Somali fishing companies in Somalia. It has invested over $1.1 million in new facilities and $350,000 in equipment and has allocated $400,000 for 2019 expansion including hiring of new employees, marking and advertising, and building costs. The company currently employs over 200 people. GEEL has provided cost-sharing support for warehouse construction ($132,000), cold chain installation ($30,000) and technical assistance/training on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) for improved market access.