Looming Catastrophe: Somaliland Unemployed Youth

maqaalThe progress, regress or outright destruction of any given society 
stems primarily from the manner in which each society enriches its 
youth by transmitting its respective culture; providing quality
education and, above all, offering employment opportunities. 
However, when youth are neglected or society fails to provide the 
aforesaid essential aspects, youth can become a disastrous force 
capable of destroying the fabric of society, as history attests 
repeatedly. Somaliland has failed miserably to provide its youth an 
employment opportunities, which have skyrocketed beyond recognition: more than 70% of its 
youth are unemployed.
It is alarming to observe countless unemployed graduates socializing at coffee shops 
throughout the country discussing their bleak future without any light at the end of the tunnel. 
Embarrassingly, these graduates still remain with their parents who provide for them. In order to 
scape from their disgraceful situation, some graduates resort to chewing Qat – an amphetamine-
like stimulant – which provides temporary amnesia. Others endeavor to depart the country by 
taking the dangerous voyage of the Sudan/Libyan desert and the Red Sea. Exhausted all other 
options, remaining youth will most likely engage with criminal activities inspired by disgruntled 
social pariahs, gangs, drugs and thus disturb social harmony. 
The current state of our youth poses a high level of danger to social stability and safety as 
the current repeated and alarming disturbances indicate, e.g., gang-related rape, robberies, 
disturbances, etc. Unemployed youth are a time ticking bomb that, if not contained, will violently
explode and have lasting negative implications for our country. One does not need to be a rocket 
scientist to recognize this looming catastrophe in our midst. Anyone who entertains the notion 
that these youth will remain passive and tolerant in the long haul requires studying history or 
simply glimpsing the Arab Spring.
The significant underlying factor that causes, or contributed significantly to, the ever-
increasing unemployment rate of our youth stems primary from our incompetent “leaders” 
who are preoccupied with their habitual misappropriation of public funds. Each one of our so-
called “leaders” (regardless of his/her age, wisdom, religious conviction, gender, etc.) strives 
misappropriating public funds before s/he is replaced with another kleptomaniac. Since our 
leaders are well versed their failure and ineptness, they resort to cheap tactics aimed at deluding 
the public. One tactic, among other things, is that they would have us believe that our youth are 
not eager to pursue employment opportunities or careers. These are appalling tactics employed
by our leaders as a brazen effort to shift the blame to youth and thus blame the victim. Contrary 
to the regurgitated groundless assertions of our leaders, majority of Somaliland youth are keen to 
obtain an employment and participate productively in the workforce. However, their efforts are 
hampered by weak economy, widespread corruption, clan-ism and lack of leadership, to name a
In order to turn the ticking time bomb in our midst into an employment explosion, we must offer
our youth employment opportunities. Businesses, policymakers and not-for-profit organizations 
should endeavor to tackle unemployment crisis by generating jobs; assisting youth acquire skills 
needed for work, be it technical/vocational trainings and/or entrepreneurship; and pledge to offer 
an adequate education. If we succeed, I am convinced we will witness, in the foreseeable future, 
a new Somaliland in which an environmentally sustainable economic growth is the norm. 
is what our youth desire. Let us provide them the instruments to shape it. We owe this 
Abdi Hussein Daud
Hargeisa, Somaliland
The author has obtained BA in Political Science & Global Studies at University of Minnesota; 
Masters in Health and Human Services Administration at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota; 
and currently pursuing PhD in Educational Leadership at Northeastern University. He can be 


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