Somaliland, a tiny and unrecognised self-declared sovereign state internationally recognised as an autonomous region of Somalia would soon have its first ICT innovation incubator.
Through a partnership between ExtendedBITS and RLabs, young people from Somaliland would soon get the opportunity to not just gain valuable ICT experience but also grow a new breed of African technology entrepreneurs.
ExtendedBITS is an international enterprise with headquarters in the Netherlands and a software team in Somaliland, while RLabs (Reconstructed Living Lab) is an international network dedicated to supporting social entrepreneurs.
In a recentVC4Africa interview with Hasan Giire, the founder of ExtendedBITS, he explained that their office in Somaliland employs young IT professionals in order to support the development of the local IT sector.
Often, the IT professionals working with ExtendedBITS have their own ideas and require support for them to be fully developed which the company provides. The partnership hopes to build on this foundation and see additional support being put into place for ExtendedBITS entrepreneurs.
In case you don’t know, Somaliland was until 1960, an English colony and when the area became independent from Britain, it was part of Somalia until 1991.
After the civil wars in the country, Somaliland decided to be independent from the rest of the country but is not yet a recognized country by the international community.
There is a free market in Somaliland which means that utilities such as electricity and telecommunications are in the hands of private companies.
Compared to other African countries, Somaliland possesses the best and cheapest rate for telecommunication (telephone and internet) connection. Interestingly, there is more than one company providing those services in every city in Somaliland.
“The people of Somaliland decided to construct their country, set up schools and universities. Every region has one or more universities. Currently more than 2000 students graduate each year from those local universities and high education institutes”, said Giire.
In Somaliland, the government also stimulates businesses to flourish and the registration of a company can be done within just 3 days, while it takes about 20 to 40 days in most African countries.
No doubt, this tiny country is one to watch in the future as its people look to take their destiny by their own hands. We’ll be keeping an eye on their progress with tech innovations.
[Image: Hasan Giire of ExtendedBITS and Marlon Parker of RLabs signing the partnership agreement at the VC4Africa office.]