Unskilled persons are mostly unemployable in any sector of the economy in any given country or society. This is what is happening in the state of Puntland. Puntland employment situation is both sad and funny – you don’t import housemaids and hotel cleaners to a country where unemployment rate is double digit.
It will take concerted and sustainable efforts on the part of both public sector and private employers to intervene in the abysmal state of affairs to rectify the widespread youth unemployment in Puntland. Skills training also includes changing prevailing social attitudes towards employment and doing away the culture of dependence to impress youth with the dignity of having a job and the importance of financial independence. Everybody has an important role to play here: Parents, government, local NGOs to address this pressing issue.
At moment, service, construction, fishing and farming industries suffer heavily due to unavailability of locally employable natives. These industries are trying desperately to attract non-native workers from other parts of Somalia and beyond, including Kenyans, Ethiopians, Yemeni and even Indians. The situation here resembles a Gulf Arab state scenario where thousands of expatriate employees run the economy. The difference is that there is no oil here at the present, although Puntland has more wealth than oil and gas: abundance of land for farming, huge livestock, unexhaustable marine resources, not to mention about the potential for also oil, gas and precious minerals, reportedly all rare metals.
Puntland can immediately kick-start fishing, leather and salt industries with minimum capital investment, employing thousands of youth currently unemployed.
Huge opportunities exist here. It requires local awareness, vision and commitment by all concerned.