Local economic development framework in Puntland: in-house revolt to the statuesque

Education and research institutions have not offered technical and management skills which enable youth to work out of unemployment. Putting education to work remains yet deeply worrying in Puntland.

Article | 22 December 2014
Pharmacy Shop in Garowe
Prior research establishes alarming business dynamics in Puntland. Considerable start-up businesses cease to exist within their first four years of existence. The survival rate for the rest, beyond four years period, is relatively little. This creates strange job creation and job destruction patterns. Education and research institutions have not offered technical and management skills which enable youth to work out of unemployment. Putting education to work remains yet deeply worrying in Puntland. The role of government to catalyse local development through supporting local innovation for self-employment, new employment, the social economy, and enterprise support services were not sufficiently addressed.

ILO, on behalf of UN JPLG, has supported Ministry of Interior (MoI) and local governments in Bossaso, Garowe, Qardo and Bandar Bayla build up a comprehensive view of local economic development (LED) process. Public-private dialogues on the state of the local economies were initiated, LED Strategies were developed, and institutional structures including LED forums were formulated and adopted. Partnerships with the private sector to support local initiatives were also established. This was guided by local economy assessment reports and other labour market information collected by ILO from the districts. The implementation of LED projects in the districts has also shown a positive signal of creating and supporting business opportunities, employment and income generating activities at the local level.

To advance LED further, the Ministry of interior has summoned Director Generals from Ministries of Commerce and Industry, Finance, Planning and International Cooperation, Interior and Local governments, Mayors of the districts, Directors of District Planning Departments, Universities, Chamber of Commerce to develop Puntland framework for local economic development. The framework aims at creating common understanding of LEDs among all socio-economic actors and adopting whole-of-government approach to harmonize policies, bundle programmes and converge resources for local economic development.
Discussions during LED conference

The Director General (DG) of MoI accentuated the role of districts to promote the local development agendas, improve their capacities to perceive the challenges they face and show operational flexibility to provide appropriate response at the local level. “Local government law, decentralization policy and other sector regulations provides us the platform to collaborate and empower local governments in the process of improving the livelihoods of people. Jobs and income is the key which makes local governments viable. We need to focus on devolving development functions to local governments” the DG said. Ahmed Said, UN JPLG Area Manager, said “We need to raise our hands for our development and the local economic development is the way to go. The LED pilot phase has to end. Let us shift towards more strategic approach which brings LED into a scale. And this is what the framework, under discussion, is all about. Commitment and leadership from the mayors are the building blocks to drive the LED agenda”. Mayor of Qardo also noted the importance of central ministries to support the implementation of LED strategies of the districts to achieve national development objectives.

The LED framework conference is the first of a series of intense dialogues and deliberations workshops amongst several government and private sector stakeholders in Puntland. During the conference, Stakeholders have debated and agreed LED policy and Legal framework, institutional arrangement, key challenges facing the local governments in the implementation of local development initiatives. Participants have also discussed the vision for local economic development in Puntland. The next steps are to arrange a LED study tour to the republic of Rwanda where key stakeholders in Puntland learn from the regional experiences. This will be followed by LED stakeholder dialogue workshops to enrich the development of framework.