Somaliland: BBC World Services interview with Hasan Giire, one of the founders of ExtendedBITS
BBC World Services interview with Hasan Giire, one of the founders of ExtendedBITS Aired On Tuesday September 27, 2011
Hasan Giire is Dutch Somalilander
Full Interview Transcript:
We go to Somaliland now, because Somaliland would like you to know that its open for business. And it doesn’t suffer at all of famine and/or pirates. While Somalia keep being one of the best illustrations in the world of a failed state. Tragically unable to deal famine and no government to deal with warfare. The northern breakaway region know as Somaliland is carefully developing it’s economy. It isn’t recognized as a sovereign state by anyone, but today a Dutch company is setting up a software business in Somaliland. The man behind extended bits as the company is called is a IT-engineer based in Utrecht Hasan Giire.
We set a private limited company in the Netherlands and we set up a limited company in Somaliland. Our company in Somaliland is an IT-factory. What we do there is we build software and we test software. What we are doing is that our Dutch office will do the preparation and in Somaliland our employees will execute the test cases that we prepared for them.
What is the benefit of doing it in Somaliland? Is this classic outsourcing, you are finding the cheapest place to do the job.
No, the idea behind this business is Somaliland, more than 70% of the people don’t have work. And when people, when a young person graduates, they only think about leaving the country. What we want to prevent is those kids leaving their own country.
Isn’t it difficult to convince international capital to go and invest in a country that after all isn’t recognized by most of the international community?
I was expecting this question. The way we set up our business is that our customer or our investor are doing business with a Dutch company.
So it’s you the Dutch company that takes the risk of dealing with Somaliland? You insulate your customers from that risk.
Definitely, In Somaliland all is in the private path. In the city we are setting this business up, in the city of Borama, there are four different companies providing electricity. The internet or telecommunication is provided by five or six different companies. Compared to a lot of other African countries the rate of internet connection or the rate of calling internationally is cheaper than all the eastern African countries.
What would you want? Presumably Somaliland would want more investment from big international companies. Are there any big names that would consider investing in Somaliland?
To give you an example: the Coca Cola company is investing 10 million dollars in bottling plants. Now a days you see Chinese companies investing in Somaliland. You see Malaysian companies investing in Somaliland. In the part of Somaliland where I’m coming from that is the outer region, we set up more than 26 primary schools, we set up a boarding school, we set up a secondary school. All that was financed by the people in the Diaspora. In Somaliland there are twelve universities.
What you are describing is something that goes completely against what most people would say, don’t you find it frustrating when people say to you Somaliland; that is where no government is and its full of pirates.
Laughs. The funny thing is when I start telling them I’m from Somaliland, they don’t understand. To make them understand I tell them it is the quiet part of Somalia.