Links Among Aged Leaders, Youth and Women Unemployment in Somaliland (By Khalid Mahad Osman)

This article highlights youth and women employment with the effects of culture and laymen who want to create a long-lasting positions by denying the achievements, knowledge, abilities, skills and capabilities of the youth and women in Somaliland. Also, the article draws sphere that conjugates unemployment, laymen and the youth which means number of qualified youth is led by laymen and that is why they believed education is nothing instead of tribalism. As ILO stated, sixty eight per cent (68%) of working age are in employment in Sub-Saharan Africa (ILO 2018).While, the rest percent is unemployment rate. However, this clarification is organized in logical manner with headings and subheadings. So here is shared much truth about the links among aforementioned.

The process that this data was collected is based on purposive sampling, personal interview, group discussion, observation and literature review, by comparing Somaliland employment system with neighbors and other developed or developing countries. This arguments is reflecting my own experiences and how I see status quo in Somaliland.

Somaliland country is one of the least developed countries in the world and Africa, which is located Horn of Africa. On the other hand, the global nations can be categorized three stages which are; Developed, Developing and Undeveloped. Mainly the developing countries invest their youth which is the core of development. When youth is employed and infrastructures are improved nations can toward progress steps that can be easily reaped their outcomes and also would have positive impact to the total of life. Some Asian, European, and American countries including Singapore, China, USA, and UK had completely mitigated employment based on age and gender, and that is why they reached those stages. Similarly, scholars agreed that more than three ways that both women and men can be equally employed in this modern world such through Education, Production and Entrepreneurship.

Therefore, according Human Capital Theory when the people are employed or trained them with skills that can somehow enable to get market opportunity, it would contribute for economic advancement of the nations, and then, when the nation’s economic progresses, it can be easily covered for social welfare. In African countries there may be less developed and developing countries which invested their Human Capital and Production including Ethiopia. Moreover, this later country produces Vegetables and ‘Anjera1 and consumed by its population and also it exports Khat and Coffee to neighbors and worldwide countries including Somaliland. This, country has achieved to provide its population for free primary, secondary education and university level. Furthermore, when its students graduate from colleges and universities they are employed accordingly and regardless of ethnic, gender, language, region, religion, and etc. Whereas, Somaliland country’s employment system is more curdle than the neighbor countries due to cultural value and clan system and it’s a necessary when the person wants to be employed to bring honorable man or woman into in front of the recruiter. Further along, if the recruiter or an authorized person is familiar with that Hon. Person, the job seeker may be has a hope, but if the Hon. Person is not familiar with that person, it can be rejected for the application process.

The Youth’s Perception on Employment Process in Somaliland
In Hargeisa Somaliland, there are lots of skilled and qualified youth who have completed Bachelors or Masters and studied form Somaliland’s Universities or abroad countries’ universities , such as Uganda , Ethiopia, Kenya ,India ,Bangladesh , Turkey , Malaysia, Sudan and Pakistan , but they do not have equivalent positions to their level of education and experience .Then , they developed inferiority based on tribalism which might push them to think negatively since they believed that clannism is more powerful than education due to experiencing layman commanding them without more experience and knowledge than themselves , even those layman who command the skilled youth may be he or she cannot read or write his or her name as properly . 0n 25th November, 2019, I had conversed with number of youth at small cafeteria which locates Sha’ab area in Hargeisa .After having a slight discussion about importance of education and how it contributes individual and community income.
They told me that they believe education can not facilitate job opportunities unless the person has reputable father or uncle who is familiar with Somaliland politics system and also further knowledge with clannism and relative chain of ancestors that you share with someone who has a position in the employer sector or can facilitate the process. In addition, this system of recruitment which is available in some employers can harm the self-esteem of youth and that is why when they tired from applying a job form job opportunities even government sectors. Similarly, the youth who have graduated domestic universities have discouragements than those who have graduated abroad universities due to community’s perception about that the students who have studied Somaliland universities are less capable to work than those who have studied abroad and it is a false and fake belief which is not based on the reality. However, the students’ capability is not depend on where you studied from, but it depends on how you studied. Means if you study hard even from domestic Universities you may achieve a lot. Rather than, going to abroad and wasting a time. In generally, unemployed youth or employed youth in Somaliland can be categorized for two main categories which are:-
1. Those who have studied for formal education
2. Those who have not studied for formal education
Also, each category can be classified into sub-categories. The first If take a look at, those who have studied for formal education we can classify for more than four types, those types , two of them are in employment process and they work as part time or fulltime workers , but the remaining two types do not go for work as part time or fulltime and they are jobless. Similarly, the second category is those who have not studied for formal education can be classified two types and they are those who work as fulltime and those who are jobless. Moreover, entrepreneurs can be included those who have studied for formal education and those who have not studied. In Emphasize, those who have studied and yet lacking a job are influenced by traditional politicians who have not studied very well while they were a young like them. Also, those jobless youth believe that having a good position is not depend on merit and qualifications of the person, but depends on how much you can defend your clan through politics. Therefore, this results that youth must wait clan-mate official .Whereas, they thought that to study hard or establish a business opportunities which produce profit. But, there is something unique for those who have studied for formal education which is that their willingness of job is high, but their commitment and skills are less. That means, if the person wants or desire to be his or her own CEO within one year in Somaliland, he or she can successfully win to gain income. Whereas, waiting for a decorated office and staff’s car may consume a time, even the process of bringing a Living Curriculum Vitae2 can take a time to be responded for the job’s application. The main challenge which refuses that youth to being employed is cultural factors which is led by politicians who disgrace the skilled youth by discouraging them as a daily basis.

Women’s Participation in Employment and Politics in Somaliland
Some of the underdeveloped nations including Somaliland women are disallowed for the reputable positions that they can fulfil the tasks related to those offices such Political participation through election and campaign and the numbers of women in Somaliland parliament is only a woman ( Xildhibaan Baar ) except ministerial level which may be two ministers are women (Minister Hinda and Shukri) in President H.E. Muse Bihi‘s government .Both of these ministers achieved highly effective leading system which resulted tangible outputs .On the other , women and men are not equally employed in Somaliland even private sectors prefer men and they do not respect for women due to calculation of leaves plus prolonged values which are based on Somalis culture which means women must be kept on the homes and men should go for work, and that is unfair even when you regard humanity, they are also human being and have right to be employed , respected , elected and voted. Also, article 36 of Somaliland constitution emphasizes women’s right in Somaliland.

Why Aged Leaders Lead Skilled Youth?
In Some countries their youth is given first priority of tasks fulfilments and they are honored with what they deserve .Rather than, discouraging and hatred based on age which exists backward countries .Moreover, in Somaliland there are traditional leaders who are honored to became house of elders which involves decision making of the country and they are more powerful representatives than parliament .Yet, they were not selected criteria, but they were aimed as ad-hoc committee which their life time would be less than 10 years, but they have been holding their positions since 1993. After Borama Conference of Somaliland Peace Building Process.

Last but not least Somaliland country’s youth and women suffered high rate unemployment which is based on clannism and traditional discourses against the progress of the nation. Furthermore, there link between unemployment and traditional politics which allows corruption and confronts total development of the country. This seems that only aged leaders have right to access some governmental positions and this causes youth’s discouragements. The second thing which totally missed from educated youth’s mind is an entrepreneurship skills. Also, it would enable them to produce profit instead of salary.


Firstly, both youth and women are the majority of Somaliland’s population and they have right to be given employment opportunities and also they must be included in the decision making of the country since they can bring a positive change which would help the next generations. Finally, I would like to present some suggestions to both sides.
1. Youth must come up with skills, knowledge and attitudes with persistence that can increase their level of confidence for themselves by ignoring myths and discouragements from the political laymen.
2. The government must make reform to the recruitment process of the country both private and governmental sectors
3. The government must endeavor how both youth and women to be included political system of country by amending some laws of the country which limits the age of candidates.
4. The government must break the chain of clannism by prohibiting tribal based recruitment whether private or public
5. The government and Corporates must cooperate how to decrease this high level of unemployment.

1. Adam Smith (18th Century ) Human Capital Theory “ popularized by Gary Becker (1962) and Rosen (1976) , University of Chicago”
2. Internationa Labour Organization (2019 ) The report of World Employment Social Outlook , Trends 2019
3. Somaliland National Development Plan II (2017) Ministry Of Planning and Development
4. Academy Of Development (2008) Searching For Peace” Somaliland Peace Biulding Process”
5. UNDP (2018) World Development Indicators Report

Author: Khalid Mahad Osman, Independent Researcher