News / Africa

Hammers Replace Bullets as Mogadishu Rebuilds

Somali Businesses Rise from Mogadishu's Ashesi
|| 0:00:00
X
Gabe Joselow
July 08, 2012 7:31 PM
The sound of hammers has replaced the sound of bullets in Somalia's capital Mogadishu. A major business boom has taken hold as the city enjoys its longest period of relative peace in 20 years. East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has more.

Somali Businesses Rise from Mogadishu's Ashes

MOGADISHU — The emergence of peace in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, has shaped the city for the better, giving it a new face. Residents are returning to and restoring their bullet-ridden homes and businesses after years of living in makeshift camps scattered in and out of the city.  

The sound of hammers has replaced the sound of machine guns in the streets of Mogadishu. Construction is going on everywhere for new homes, hotels and shopping malls.  Businesses are thriving, government institutions are being renovated and building owners are reclaiming their property from squatters.

Hassan Sankay Ali, a sawmill owner in a district known as Kilometer Five, said there has been high demand for building materials, and due to that demand prices have risen.
 
People are coming out to buy building materials, Ali said. Most of the people coming to buy are either building new houses or renovating existing homes.
 
During 21 years of anarchy, Mogadishu's infrastructure was reduced to rubble. Now enjoying its longest period of relative peace, the city is making notable progress.

A new warehouse is going up in Kilometer Five. Construction manager Mohamed Hussein said buildings in that area were destroyed after years of fighting, but people have begun rebuilding. He said construction started when government forces took full control of the district six months ago.

"People are looking for a place to live," he said. "They want to live."

Anarchy in Somalia had become "normal," Hussein said, and it seemed to be never-ending. But, he added, "at the end of the day people want shelter - a place they can call home."

Limited resources, big demand

Mogadishu's mayor, Mohamed Ahmed Nur, told VOA he has limited resources and it is hard to compile an overall look at the city's construction boom.
 
“We are struggling with the basic services," he said. "So I cannot give you the exact figure, but I can tell you that the figure is huge. ... Wherever you, go every sound you will hear is hammer and nail, rather than hearing the bullets.”

People are getting their lives restarted in Mogadishu, but the return of security and order is still a long way off. In some neighborhoods clan-based militias control the government's checkpoints, in a clear reminder of chaos that dominated the city for years.

Expatriates flock back

The economic boom is fueled by expatriates flocking back and investing millions of dollars. This provides jobs for thousands of young militiamen eager to get out of the killing business.

Mohamud Hareed Dagey came from London six months ago and opened a new restaurant near Lido Beach, and he also plans to build a hotel. He said more Somalis living abroad must return home to build the economy.

He said at least 40 people work in his restaurant, and that those jobs are more important than his profits. “What is important,” Dagey said, “is creating jobs for people. If we create jobs we can tell people: 'lay down your arms, come to work and improve your livelihood.'”

Dagey said unemployment has caused young people to join militias and make their livelihood through extortion and killing.

Businessmen hope a political transition leading up to the election of a president - a vote due to take place next month - will sustain this new cycle of peace and prosperity. But amid the past six months of hope and optimism here in the capital, security is still a major concern.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid