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Will Somalia hire a non-Somali to lead its central bank?

Hiiraan Online
Thursday August 9, 2018

Mogadishu (HOL) - The Somali government is actively seeking to recruit a new governor for the central bank, taking out an ad in The Economist, an internationally published English-language weekly magazine that focuses on business and finance.

As the current governor Bashir Isse, who has led the Central Bank since 2014, prepares for his exit on November 1, it appears that the Somali government is potentially looking to hire a non-Somali as nation’s highest authority on banking.

By the Minister of Finance’s own account, any individual whom the Somali government deems to be a right fit for the job will be considered.

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“We advertised to recruit someone qualified for the job, whether they are Somali or non-Somali,” Dr. Abdirahman Beileh told reporters last Friday.

Last Monday, Dr. Beileh tweeted the announcement that Somalia would be looking “internationally” in their hunt for a new central bank governor. 

“It is with great pleasure that the position of Governor of @CBSsomalia is advertised internationally in @TheEconomist magazine. Our government urges all qualified candidates to apply. The successful Governor will help transform Somalia's future #Somalia”.

However, according to Article 12 of The Central Bank of Somalia Act, only a citizen of Somalia shall be eligible to be appointed a member of the board. Article 11 of the same legislation clearly stipulates that the board consists of the Governor, who serves as the chairman.

The advertisement placed in The Economist says that the new governor will guide Somalia through major reforms that include a $41 million project to issue new currency notes, developing monetary instruments and the regulation of the financial system. 

It goes on to say that the new governor will serve as the “ principal representative of the CBS in its relations with the Federal Government of Somalia, other public entities and bodies and international financial institutions.”

The advertisement does not explicitly invite non-Somali’s to apply for the position.

Reliable sources with intimate knowledge of the advertisement in The Economist told HOL that it came with a price tag of $26,000 USD. 

The Central Bank employee who spoke with us on condition of anonymity said that external pressure from the World Bank and IMF, who have been closely involved in Somalia’s financial recovery, may be the driving factor behind a push to hire a non-Somali as the Governor of the Central Bank.

The hunt for a new governor and imminent departure of the current governor has reportedly paralyzed operations at the central bank.

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