By Daniel Hunter
The UK will be holding a major trade and investment event aimed at supporting inward investment into Somalia.
Foreign Office Minister for Africa Mark Simmonds, along with local MP Angie Bray, visited Ealing on 26 March to meet members of London’s Somali community to hear from young Somalis about their hopes and aspirations for Somalia, and their objectives for the upcoming Somalia Conference in May. The discussion was organised with the support of the Anti-Tribalism Movement.
Speaking after the event, Mr Simmonds said: "I am inspired by the dedication, commitment and passion I see among the Somali diaspora. The Somali diaspora have a vital role to play in the reconstruction of Somalia as it begins to emerge from 20 years of conflict.
"This is already beginning to happen as security improvements allow more and more Somalis to return home and make a difference for their people. This is leading to a palpable sense of optimism, especially in Mogadishu, and we are keen to support that."
During the meeting, the Minister announced a Somali trade and investment event to be held in London near the time of the conference.
"We know that Somalis around the world are a critical part of the solution to the country’s problems. But we also want to support in a direct and practical way. Today I announced that we will be holding a major trade and investment event aimed at supporting inward investment into Somalia.
"As security improves, new and exciting business opportunities are opening up. Many diaspora organisations are already going back to invest. We want to encourage that, and also to demonstrate to non-Somali UK businesses the opportunities that exist across South Central Somalia, Puntland and Somaliland.
"The UK’s Somali community play an active role in helping Somalia to recover from the conflict, famine and insecurity. For years, the diaspora have supported family members back home, and helped raise money for charitable causes in Somalia. Now that security and political conditions are improving, many are going back to help with reconstruction and redevelopment."
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