Postcards from the Hallways: Strengthening Local Entrepreneurs in Somalia
Sharp-eyed entrepreneurs help fragile states rebuild their economies, laying the groundwork for a better future.
In Somalia, Sagal Omar manufactures clay cooking stoves—sold by women, to women. “In our culture, women make the day-to-day decisions in the house,” she says, “but none of the energy companies were targeting them.”
So she seized the opportunity, starting Women in Renewable Energy Somalia. It now has 40 staff and sold 400 stoves last year. Made from local clay and tin, the stoves cut charcoal consumption by half, and are sold through an all-women distribution network.
Seeking to expand, she entered IFC’s training program for Somali entrepreneurs taught in partnership with the Somali Institute for Development Research and Analysis (SIDRA). This year the program is helping 20 Somali entrepreneurs learn about finance, marketing, and strategy in modules specifically tailored to their needs.
IFC’s work with the private sector is one of many state-building initiatives the World Bank Group supports in Somalia through the Multi-Partner Fund linking 10 donor agencies.
In fiscal 2016, IFC invested $206 million in Sub-Saharan Africa’s fragile states and made $12 million in advisory services commitments supported by Ireland, the Netherlands, and Norway.