Somalia: Sectorial Assessment of Women’s Entrepreneurship Development in the Renewable Energy and a Female-dominated sector in one of the priority sectors in S

*A gender responsive sector selection and mapping of women entrepreneurs, Business Development Services Providers (BDSPs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) serving or likely to serve growth-oriented women entrepreneurs in Mogadishu and Garowe.

1. Background

The International Labour Organization (ILO) support for Somalia is articulated in the Draft Somalia Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP 2017-2019), which is aligned with the National Development Plan (NDP 2017-2019). As part of the implementation of the NDP (2017-2019) and to contribute towards achievement of the goal of decent work for all women and men, and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the ILO is implementing the Public Private Development Partnership (PPDP) for Renewable Energy Skills Training and Women’s Economic Empowerment in Somalia funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

The four-year project (2019-2022) seeks to address two complementary challenges to Somalia’s development: lack of access to affordable, renewably-sourced energy; and barriers to women’s full economic empowerment. Expanding access to energy in the country has the potential to increase the productivity and competitiveness of Somali women and men run/owned businesses, contribute to alleviating poverty (both of which could lead to increased investment), improve health and education outcomes, and bolster security. Women’s economic empowerment gives women the independence, confidence, and ability to transform their lives. There is a direct correlation between improvements in health, education, peace, and security and the eventual success of women entrepreneurs to catalyse change within their regions, clans, towns, and families.

The Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) component of the PPDP project works to enable women owned growth-oriented businesses to expand and by doing so, create jobs, improve the value and productivity of their operations and be part of socioeconomic growth in Somalia. It tries to address two areas of need identified in the inception report “Business Development Service Gaps and Civil Society Organization Skills Deficits for Women-Owned Organizations”: (i) better service provision from institutions supporting women entrepreneurs; and (ii) direct assistance for women entrepreneurs, particularly in establishing networks/cooperatives for mutual support.

2. Rationale

According to the World Bank, nearly 8 in 10 Somalis are estimated to live in conditions of severe poverty. Poverty in Somalia is widespread with 77 percent of the population living below the poverty line of US$ 1.90 at 2011 purchasing power parity (PPP). The incidence of poverty is 26 percentage points higher in Somalia compared to the average of low-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (51 percent) in 2017. The country has the 3rd highest poverty rate in the region, after Burundi and South Sudan. The Somali population has relatively low levels of economic activity and income, as reflected by a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of US$ 500 in 2017. Between 2013 and 2017, real GDP is estimated to have grown on average at 2.5 percent per year, while the population grew by 2.9 percent per year. The result has been an annual contraction in per capita incomes of 0.4 percent during the same period – significantly below fragile, sub-Saharan, and low-income country averages – making Somalia among the poorest countries in the world.

Among the many challenges facing Somalia and acting as brakes on limitations for development, massive underutilization of women’s skills and abilities in the labour market is critical. Addressing this major barrier to development will contribute to create conditions for improved social and economic equality and growth for the people of Somalia. Women entrepreneurs have already overcome many barriers just to become economically active. Yet their capacity to succeed and to grow is significantly limited. A 2012 study on the status of financial inclusion by the ILO with the Ministry of Planning and National Development, Somaliland Central Bank, Ministry of Trade, Chamber of Commerce, Women Business Associations, remittance companies, and MFIs found that financial services in Somalia were delivered by a few, mainly private providers. Access to and use of these services by persons with disabilities, poor women, unemployed youth and rural populations was limited or close to non-existent. Some traditional group savings practices, such as hagbeds are commonly used in rural and urban areas, but the funds accumulated are generally too small to start or develop a business. A 2013 survey of women entrepreneurs found that 73% of women financed their businesses from savings while 11% borrowed from family members, friends or money lenders. Over 60% of women did not receive any assistance in starting their businesses, and 96% were not affiliated with any business organizations. Only 2% of women-owned businesses had accounts with formal money transfer companies, compared with 24% of men-owned businesses. A UN Women Baseline survey in 2013 also indicated that women’s access to credit or grants for business purposes differs considerably between South Central (43.7%), Puntland (10.2%) and Somaliland (2.9%).

According to the ILO’s Women’s economic development report for 2013, nearly all the sampled women entrepreneurs lacked awareness of the institutions that support business growth even those with special facilities for women. Ninety nine percent did not know about savings and credit facilities or marketing assistance, and none had ever heard of indirect credit services, technology assistance, extension services or networking being available for them. In addition, a 2014 UNDP report for on the role of women in the private sector in Somalia found time constraints, lack of mobility and an intimidating environment for economic participation as some of the main challenges facing women entrepreneurs.

When asked to prioritize their needs, women entrepreneurs identified business management skills, access to adequate working capital and more confidence to take risks. They also indicated that there was potential for changes in government policies to assist them.

3. Objective

The objective of this research is to: (i) identify value chains conducive to the empowerment of women entrepreneurs in Puntland and Central/South Somalia, with options to extrapolate the results at the national level; and (ii) map out and select Women Entrepreneurs (WEs), Business Development Service Providers (BDSPs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) that will benefit from the project. The study will bring forward key policy, strategic and operational recommendations to advance representation and meaningful participation of Somali WEs in their business environment and to enhance their contribution to socioeconomic growth. It will apply a sectorial approach to the ILO methodology of the national assessment of women’s entrepreneurship development. This will be done by analysing the relevance of selected value chains for WEs, their growth potential, and the feasibility to stimulate change, based on the six framework conditions for women’s entrepreneurship development. The findings will inform the implementation of interventions pertaining to the WEE component of the PPDP project.

4. Tasks

The following tasks will be undertaken in order to select direct and final beneficiaries of the project, as well as to analyse challenges and opportunities that would provide specific recommendations to improve ecosystem of women’s entrepreneurship development in selected value chains. Data collection, analysis and action report writing will be done according to the processes indicated in relevant ILO guidelines. The project will share required guides before the beginning of the assessment.

1. Select direct and final beneficiaries of the project

The project aims to reach a total of 100 service providers (BDSPs and CSOs) and 500 women entrepreneurs in Puntland and Central/South Somalia, on a respective proportion of 60% and 40%. For the time being, it has identified 13 BDPs, 31 CSOs and 82 growth oriented WEs. It would now like to select the remaining, with a margin of +10% for each group. This means that the assignment should advise on the selection of a total 110 service providers and 550 women entrepreneurs, to anticipate possible withdrawals. The contractor (individual or company) should:

· review relevant databases, including those from the Chamber of Commerce and relevant associations in order to identify women entrepreneurs and BDSPs/CSOs that meet the following criteria:

  • Criteria for BDSPs and CSOs

o based in Puntland or Central/South Somalia;

o provide entrepreneurship development services; at least 15% of clients are women;

o have been in operation for at least 1 year.

  • Women Entrepreneurs

o Based in Puntland or Central/South Somalia;

o employ at least 1 other person;

o have been in operation for at least 1 year;

o operate in priority sectors (agriculture, fisheries, technology, renewables);

o are able to clearly identify areas of improvements for their businesses and needs to advocate for their interests.

· compile information with available data from ILO and submit, in form of an excel file, or any other easy-to-access and user-friendly database software, a list of potential direct and final beneficiaries of the project will full contact details and information on their businesses.

2. Conduct sectorial assessment of women entrepreneurship development in Puntland and Central/South Somalia

The assessment should result in selection of sub-sectors or value chains that would advance economic empowerment of women entrepreneurs. The contractor (individual working with a team or company) will:

· undertake a literature review of the relevant research on women’s entrepreneurship development and economic empowerment in Puntland and Central/South Somalia;

· gather primary data by:

  • identifying key informants (in collaboration with ILO) and undertaking 25-30 key informant interviews with service providers (BDSPs and CSOs);

  • organising at least four (4) focus groups (including one rural based and another for young women entrepreneurs);

  • compiling information a survey of at least five hundred women entrepreneurs (500) selected that will be performed by another contractor to be commissioned by the ILO;

· Examine and analyse the information gathered through the desk study, interviews, focus groups and survey and identify key recommendations to be validated by key stakeholders (government, women entrepreneurs associations, employers’ organisations, etc.). The analysis should provide in-depth understanding on:

  • main actors in the selected value chains, including relevant government institutions, private-sector actors, financial and non-financial service providers for entrepreneurs, and related associations;

  • existing sectorial rules and regulations and their application, with a specific focus on whether they are conducive to the development and support of women’s entrepreneurial activities;

  • main challenges encountered by women entrepreneurs, with a focus on the capacity building needs of women entrepreneurs in the selected value chains;

  • Accessibility and appropriateness of financial and non-financial services and support available to women entrepreneurs.

The analysis will also incorporate proposed actions to:

  • further integrate and better support women entrepreneurs in selected value chains, with special attention to capacity building needs and access to financial and non-financial services and support;

  • strengthen the regulatory environment so that it contributes to women’s entrepreneurship development in selected value chains;

  • create employment opportunities for women and men in priority sectors;

· Write up the report, following the guidance and format described in the ILO: « Assessing the Framework Conditions for Women’s Entrepreneurship Development – Assessor’s guide». The ILO expects the contractor (individual or team leader in case of a company) to be the main writer of the report (and not delegate it to another person);

· Share a first full draft of the report with the ILO for comments;

· Develop a 2nd draft of the report based on ILO comments, and a powerpoint presentation to be presented in a validation workshop to key stakeholders. The presentation will be made by the consultant (no more than 15-20 slides/20 minutes) on the key findings and recommendations to be validated publicly in two locations;

· Finalise and submit the final Assessment report based on comments received during the validation workshop.

5. Qualifications

· Good understanding of issues pertaining to women’s entrepreneurship development and economic empowerment in Somalia;

· Experience in developing or undertaking ecosystem evaluations or selector selection for value chain analysis or development purposes;

· Perfect command of English (written and oral).

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