SOMALIA – Salaam Somali Bank, the first privately-owned bank in Somalia, has announced plans to inject US$4 million into the country’s economy between 2022 and 2024 through specialist, zero-interest micro-loans to Somalia’s best and brightest entrepreneurs.
The announcement, delivered at the annual Mogadishu Tech Summit was made in front of the country’s leading policymakers, ministers, and private professionals, alongside an audience of the greatest minds the country has to offer.
Said Moalim of Salaam Somali Bank said that: “Somali’s are some of the most inventive, entrepreneurial individuals in the world. With proper access to capital, and the financial ecosystem to support them, there’s really no limit to the country’s potential.”
The US$4million will be distributed through the Salaam Entrepreneurs Fund (SEF), which was launched in 2019 with the aim of providing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Covid-19 support as well as kickstarting business growth.
The SEF will now look to take advantage of a young, digitally savvy, population – 70% of which are currently under 30 years old. It supports entrepreneurs by providing early-stage growth financing, with a specific focus on women and entrepreneurs under 30.
Said Moalim continued by saying that young people make up 70% of Somalia’s population and they are the lifeblood of its economy and have been steadily rebuilding it from the ground up. Somalia’s future is brightened by these tech-savvy problem solvers.
Three types of investment products; free microfinancing (up to US$3,000), start-up financing (up to U$50,000), and SME investment (above US$50,000) are available for entrepreneurs across five key sectors; technology, renewable energy, farming, fishing, and livestock.
The Somali economy has been through a steady and progressive transformation over the past 10 years, experiencing positive year-on-year growth in GDP in the 10 years preceding the pandemic.
Now, the focus is on empowering entrepreneurs operating inside of Somalia who have an inspiring vision to solve social problems and create commercial solutions.
The news follows a series of major announcements coming out of Somalia in 2021 aimed at strengthening the Somali economy. Including the awarding of the country’s first mobile money license to Hormuud Telecom by the Central Bank of Somalia, and the bank setting up the country’s first national payments system.