Since the outbreak of civil war in the early nineties the Somali region has been affected by decades of political and economical instability. This nearly continuous state of conflict has seriously curtailed economic growth. As the region now continuous its emergence from turmoil, investments are increasing, banks are opening their doors and exports are increasingly finding markets throughout the Middle East and East Africa. However much more is needed to help build a stable and sustainable society.
Somaliland Investment Forum
The Somaliland Investment Forum is a three-day event bringing together policymakers, donors, investors, and the Somaliland business community to discuss ways to strengthen private sector investment. The Forum is taking place in Hergeisa September 19 – 21 and is organized by the Somaliland Ministry of Trade & Investment in partnership with Shuraako, a program of the One Earth Foundation. The Forum follows the successful ‘Returning Capital for Growth’ Somali Investment Forum organized by Shuraako, the US Embassy, Nairobi and the World Bank in March 2015 in Nairobi.
ABAN, the newly founded African Business Angel Network, has been invited to help facilitate the conversation on early stage investing and host an “Angel Investor Masterclass”. ABAN will highlight trends and developments as well as challenges and proposed solutions in early stage funding across the African continent. Stephen Gugu who runs Investor Network Viktoria Ventures in Kenya will join ABAN cofounder David van Dijk and VC4A’s head of Investor Relations & Research Lead Thomas van Halen to lead the sessions.
“ABAN’s mission is to support the development of early stage investor networks across the continent, and to get many more early stage investors excited about the opportunities in Africa” ABAN Director General David van Dijk comments “We are really excited about being part of this conversation in Somaliland and look forward to work with investors both on the ground and in the diaspora.”
The Angel Investor Masterclass will investigate the role informal investors or business angels play in taking early stage ventures through the most risky parts of their life cycle through provision of coaching, mentoring, seed and growth capital. We examine closely the question such as: how does angel investing work, investing in syndicates, how to get started. An expert panel of investors from will share best practices with the audience. Focal point will also be how to best engage with investors in the diaspora who play a pivotal role in Somaliland and in the region.
For investments to scale, changes are necessary
Diaspora communities around the world have played an important role in the recoveries of their home countries after periods of political instability. The Somali diaspora especially plays a key role already in helping to drive economic development.
In line with the outcomes from the Investment Survey Report presented by Shuraako and IFAD, the International Fund for Agricutural Development, VC4A acknowledges the importance of capital flows from the Somali diaspora network. “For investments to scale, changes are necessary. The formation of new financial products with a mix of local and diaspora investors (e.g. syndicates) would be very welcomed by the local early stage startup scene” as stated by VC4A’s Thomas van Halen.
Work in Progress! Project
The Angel Investor Masterclass is part of a series of investor events organized by ABAN and VC4A under the umbrella of the Work in Progress! Project – a 3-year program implemented by the consortium of Oxfam, VC4A, Butterfly Works and IOM. The project is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and aims to unlock the economic potential of young men and women in Egypt, Nigeria and Somalia by enabling them to start own enterprises. As part of the project, VC4A will partner with Innovate Ventures to accelerate startups and will work together with ABAN to strengthen local investor networks.