MOGADISHU – With an improvement in security, the Somali government is taking advantage of relative calm and rebuilding the country’s major source of revenues – namely the airport and seaport, with major assistance from Turkey.
This once volatile and bullet-riddled capital, Mogadishu, is being revitalized at a swift pace.
One of the government’s priorities is to upgrade the transit hubs – crippled by two decades of civil strife.
With Turkish funding and assistance, the sole international airport in Mogadishu is being revamped with completion expected in 2015.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud says the Aden Abdulle Osman facility will be world class.
“Once opened, we expect the airport to resemble other world airports in terms of beauty and airport services. This is a major step in the construction face and it will change the face of Somalia,” he said.
In 2013, the International Civil Aviation Organization removed Mogadishu’s airport from the ‘Zone 5’ list of airports deemed to pose a security risk to aircraft, crew and passengers.
Since then, air traffic has increased – with carriers such as Turkish Airlines running two flights a week to Mogadishu.
And it’s not just the airport; Somali authorities recently handed over the management of the Mogadishu seaport to a Turkish firm.
The Al Bayrak Company is charged with bringing in new technology to modernize the cargo hub to international standards and provide new jobs for young, educated Somalis.
The Port of Mogadishu has been one of the only employers for many Somalis for decades.
An improvement in security, thanks to African Union forces in the past two years, has offered the business community a window of opportunity to expand trade all across the city. They are now competing for prime spots on major roads such as Makka Al Mukaramma.
Businessmen, like Zakariya Mohamud, say the stability here is attracting investors – mostly the Somali diaspora community.
“There has been so much progress in Mogadishu since I returned six months ago,” he said. “Businesses are propping up; the population of people in the city has sharply increased. The return of the Diaspora community has also transformed the city.”
Turkey continues to lead the efforts in rebuilding Somalia. There are new roads, schools, hospitals, hotels and banks – all a sign that Somalis are optimistic about the future.