When 25-year-old Mohamed Noor Hussein heard about the establishment of an information technology hub in Mogadishu, his excitement was immense. He knew his dream and that of many other IT savvy youth were taking shape in the near future, some light was finally at the end of the dark tunnel.
Indeed, the technology tunnel has been so dark that lovers of information technology like Mohamed have had to go through mountains of challenges to meet the bare minimum of what they set out to achieve in the difficult circumstances of not only limited internet penetration but also low-end user or consumption base for their products.
Mohamed who is so excited about the setting up of the iRise hub in Mogadishu told the Somalia Business Magazine that he will want to take advantage of the new venture as soon as it takes shape to help catalyse his dream of becoming a renown tech savvy in the country and beyond.
“I have already met the leaders of iRise hub and I was very happy to know that we will finally have even the link between our entrepreneurial ideas and potential investors in this sector which has not been properly highlighted and which has a huge potential to not only create jobs but boost productivity especially among the youth, “Mr Mohamed said.
The young man who spends most of his time in a small make shift studio in Mogadishu describes his potential as phenomenal having been producing Somali language videos on technology subjects and uploading them online amidst tough conditions of slow internet and limited connectivity up time.
He uses a M5 radio to tap internet which used to make his work so slow as some videos take more than 40 minutes to upload, now that is history. His satisfaction is unmeasured through, he says so far he has been happy to work as the producer, editor and everything in coming up with the informative contents.
After graduating from the University of Mogadishu with a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, the youthful Mohamed decided to proceed for his master’s degree. He start a small studio, armed with a camera and a computer to produce videos that bridge the technology gap among Somali at home and in the diaspora after gratuating from his master’s degree.
He makes videos about technology subjects including general knowledge about new equipment, soft wares, how to perform certain basic IT procedures and all what his audience have shown interest on by getting back to him through the YouTube channel. The rapid changes in technology and the fast launches of devices has kept the young man busy.
“My videos get watched by people all over the world and I am always excited to get feedback on what I prepare. I once made a video about a gadget that can help detect burglary and it got 200,000 views which was the highest ever. I am sure with a little support and with the hub idea taking shape, this can only be made better and I can’t wait for the idea which will most likely benefit other youths with similar ideas who I have also met and noticed their potential.”Mohamed Noor Hussein
What he started barely a year ago has sprung into a channel with 6,000 subscribers after he made and uploaded 42 videos. In his typical online mass reach, Mohamed has 46,000 followers on Facebook making it easy to spread his content and pull audience through the social media marketing.
“My videos get watched by people all over the world and I am always excited to get feedback on what I prepare. I once made a video about a gadget that can help detect burglary and it got 200,000 views which was the highest ever. I am sure with a little support and with the hub idea taking shape, this can only be made better and I can’t wait for the idea which will most likely benefit other youths with similar ideas who I have also met and noticed their potential.” he told The Somalia Investor Magazine in an exclusive interview.
He is right about that, data show that more than half of Somalia’s population comprise of men and women below18 year old meaning most of them were born after 1991 when the country broke statelessness and getting job opportunities has been very hard for this cohort.
A May 2013 international conference on Somalia co-hosted by the governments of the United Kingdom and Somalia to provide international support for the Government of Somalia as they rebuild their country after two decades of conflict focused on the rebuilding its armed forces, police, coastguard, justice and public financial management systems but most importantly to tackle youth unemployment.
The Somali youth whose lives have been shaped by a quarter of a century of violent turmoil, according to the conference, needed practical focus to have their employment vacuum filled with jobs that fit their interest and prepares them for the new world economic order of the 21st century.
A United Nations Development Programme report released a year before the UK conference revealed that Somalis under 30 might constitute 70 per cent of the population but nearly two-thirds would like to leave the country.
The report also revealed the unemployment rate for youths in Somalia to be among the highest in the world, at a startling 67 per cent among all 14 to 29-year olds. The report was also very upsetting in its revelation that only 40 per cent of Somali youths were actively looking for work leaving behind a hopeless and deeply discouraged majority group.
With peace dividends beginning to show in the country’s economic reconstruction, the UNDP report warns that youth would be arguably more vulnerable than any other to turn to extremism and criminal behaviour should they fail to fit in the country’s economic mainstream through innovations like that being driven by the iRise hub.
In a deeper sense, these statistics show an emergence of a generation for whom life has been shaped by lost opportunities, an unclear identity and a growing sense of marginalisation and whose employment or engagement into the wealth growing chain of the country hold the key to stability on the country struggling to shed away the effects of prolonged conflict.
Mohamed said while he does most of his videos as a hobby for now, the increased views and faster processing of his work will translate into advertisements in the future and help him earn revenues which will turn his hoppy to an economic powerhouse.
“We have to flow with the currents and IT is an idea whose time has come. I am happy to have studied the subject and now when such initiatives like the iRise hub comes along, I feel I was not lost after all to study computer science, “he said.
He also hopes to improve his working gear to produce even higher quality videos and his audience which is based mostly in Somalia but also in Europe and America as well as Saudi Arabia will be able to benefit from the informative videos.
He believes information about the information technology will be the first step in drawing interests of the youth on IT which is central in the establishment of future commercial enterprises in the world and Somalia cannot be left in the analogue island as everything goes digital.