Monday May 22, 2023
Mogadishu (HOL) - Mogadishu prepares for the second Somalia-Italy Business & Trade ForumMogadishu is preparing to host the 2nd Somalia-Italy Business & Trade Forum on May 30-31. The event marks a crucial milestone in the economic relations between the two nations, providing a pivotal platform for government officials and corporate executives from both countries to engage, network, and create strategic alliances.
The Forum is the centrepiece of the inaugural Somalia Economic Conference, a broad initiative organized by Somalia's Ministry of Commerce and Industry in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). UNIDO organized the inaugural Italy-Somalia Business and Trade Forum in 2019.
Building on the success of the inaugural Forum, which witnessed the creation of several international partnerships, the 2023 event expands its scope, spotlighting Somalia as a destination with business opportunities for global companies. This year the event will be held alongside the inaugural Somalia Economic Conference and the 1st Somalia Private Sector Partnership Meet, making this a diverse gathering of economic potential and international collaboration.
Historically, Somalia and Italy had had strong trade relations dating back to the colonial period when Somalia was under Italian rule, and organizers hope the trade summit can deepen trade ties by leveraging the distinct compatibility of their markets.
Italy's diverse export portfolio to Africa provides numerous opportunities for Somali traders. Machines, pharmaceuticals, processed foods, and fashion are among the most lucrative industries. Notably, machinery and equipment are essential for Somalia's infrastructure and industrial development, automobiles and vehicle parts for expanding transportation and logistics sectors, and pharmaceuticals for improving public health. Renewable energy, which can capitalize on Somalia's solar and wind resources, is also expected to present significant economic opportunities.
Somalia's main exports also find resonance in the Italian market. Bananas, once a major export to Italy, hold potential for revival. Livestock products, mainly hides, could benefit Italy's robust leather goods industry. Fisheries offer untapped potential, given Somalia's long coastline and marine wealth. Additionally, Somalia's unique commodities, such as gum Arabic and frankincense, organic and fair trade products, and vast mineral wealth, could present fresh opportunities in Italy's diverse manufacturing sectors.
The Forum comes at a critical juncture, with Somalia recently opening its doors to international business opportunities. Last month, the leaders of Ethiopia, Italy, and Somalia convened in Addis Ababa to strengthen their partnerships, including investments in the Horn of Africa. During the meeting, Italy emphasized its strategic push to enhance mutually beneficial relations with Somalia and Ethiopia, opening up opportunities for shared development through a plan encompassing energy, defence, training, cooperation, and trade.