Somalia has experienced civil unrest as a consequence of persistent wars and disputes among socio-economic and political actors in the nation. Despite all those challenges and problems, Somalia as a nation has maintained a healthy and competitive informal economy based mainly on livestock, fishing, international trade, remittances, foreign aid, and telecommunications business. Due to a death and destruction of formal government operations and statistics, it is difficult to know the size or growth of the economy.
Year after year, “Somalia’s economy is emerging from informal to formal economy” a welcome note to all Somalis and their well wishers. Mainly it’s due to the gradual stability, peace and the return of diaspora to invest in Somalia, with the hope of benefiting the community at the same time maximizing their returns on investment.
In the name of investment many investors are imitating products and services which are already tested by other investors, and in the process they are completely discouraging innovators and forcing them out of market, after all the hardwork, effort and cost that has gone into developing and establishing premium products or services.
This has an impact on the economy since it discourages the existing and potential innovators to hit targeted returns/profits. Attention please; unwise companies that do imitate but do it the wrong way end up with negative results, leading to erroneous performances; this is total horror and undesirable, no matter where this low level form business is occurring, the copied product/service will always be significantly inferior due to the fact no additional thinking has been applied to its development,
For example, the most copied businesses I can state in Somalia are; the hotel business, educational institutions, travel agencies, consultants, media, especial hires, money remittances and so much more businesses, all these businesses are copied day in and out, with no innovation added on the product/ service.
What forced the writer to produce this article is after meeting investors who are hesitating to invest Somalia because of fear of fast imitators, instead investing eastern and southern African countries. Their argument is that many fast imitators are “spoiling products and services” tested by innovators with good motives to satisfy public consumerism syndrome.
Generally there is absolutely nothing wrong with healthy competition to meet the positive forces of supply and demand in an economy. Otherwise all lucrative businesses and enterprises are welcomed and encouraged.
Yah! If you are an investor hatching a business for the first time, I recommend that you find out a product concept that is already accepted and improve on it by “value addition to stand the dynamics of public supply and demand” rather than producing exactly the existing products and services that would not capture public interests and satisfaction. Notice that, the writer is not suggesting that you steal someone else’s idea, but it simply limits your risk by adding innovativeness to a proven entity or commodity already on market display.
Evidence of success using this approach is all around the globe. Look how Japanese entered America’s auto industry, or how McDonalds imitated White Castle, or how Wal-Mart perfected the low-price high-volume approach,
A case in point, one to establish a similar business venture like educational institution, production line, manufacturing industry, farming business, merchandize business, media business, ought to focus at adding value on the known product or service to bring it on lime light as “the unique known product or service” uncompromisingly will hit a jackpot of success that globally stand the unquestionable growth and development that is worth sustainable and tangible. ‘So competition is not worn by “doing different things BUT by doing things differently” therefore, innovators pick a new leaf for a new SOMALIA economy.
Abdirashid Shabeel is a business consultant
He works with Hodan Global money transfer Ltd
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