May 04, 2013

Somali capital prepares for business boom with improved security


There are signs businesses are getting a new lease of life in
theSomali capital Mogadishu.

The sheer numbers of newly-opened beauty parlors and newly erected
business signage around the ruined city affirm the determination of a
nation toturn a new chapter after 22 years of civil war.

The financial sector appears to have thrived the most during the
country's slightly over two decades of war.
The scale of the expansion registered by the locally incorporated
money transfer services that have kept the country's 10 million people
going during the war is not in doubt throughout Mogadishu.
Ladan Express, one of the indigenous Somali cash transferservice
providers opened in 2009, is already extending its presence in the
Horn of Africa country.
The money transfer service firm is slowly molding into a local
commercial bank, Ladan ExpressBank. The others also follow suit, the
Al Mushtaqbul… The long queues of petroleum tankers snaking its way to
morethan 2 km off the main seaport and the number of trucks loaded
with freight waiting to deliver supplies outside the city is a sign of
new life.
"What we are experiencing is a new window," Ahmed Abdi Kaarie, the
deputy director of the Mogadishu Seaport, said in arecent interview in
the capital.
"You can tell that there is need for foreign investments everywhere.
We need professional companies to assist us in evaluating what is
required," he added.
Somali President Sheikh Hassan Mohamoud is more excited about the pace
of progress, but worries that the newly found vibrancy on the streets
of the capital might be lost if stability is not restored.
The kind of stability he envisions is more permanent, backed by the
institutions that his country is rebuilding.
"We feel if we do not succeed soon to achieve a relatively secure
Somalia, we might not move," he warned.
The Somali leader said a numberof business laws have been presented
before parliament to get the economy going after several years of
Among the laws and business legislation his administration
isprioritizing are those dealing with the private sector.
The government has also put before parliament a proposed petroleum
law, a separate bill togovern the minerals sector and another law on
the fisheries sector.
"Some of these laws have been re-modeled. Some of them are new, some
are law reviews and we hope that once they have been endorsed, we can
move forward again," President Mohamoud said.
"We need international partners. We are focusing on privatization. The
private partnership is the way forward for Somalia," he explained.
Talks are already underway withseveral foreign firms to secure stakes
in the country's seaport. Port officials did not disclose any names,
saying the negotiations were ongoing with the government.
The Somali President said apart from working harder to implement his
election pledge, which comprises six pillars and which he has narrowed
down tojust two broad themes, capturing security and the institutional
reforms, his government is also working on revitalizing bilateral ties
with foreign governments.
Before a meeting with the Somali president last week, he had to
receive credentials from two European diplomats. In total, a record
number of 30 diplomats have been accredited to Mogadishu in recent
"We are going to make our financial sector reforms to work," the
president said, speaking of his six-pillar agendathat lays emphasis on
reformingthe security sector, public sectorreforms and enhancing
transparency in the management of the public finance to effectively
deal with corruption.
Somalia is casting his fishing net wider across the world. The
president's plea is for the world's maritime giants to take advantage
of Somalia's vast maritime resources, explorers to venture into mining
and for the neighboring Ethiopia, Kenyaand Uganda, to encourage the
Somali entrepreneurial acumen.
"Somalia is a land of opportunities. We have 3,300 km of coastal line
that gives us an opportunity to develop our maritime capacity. We have
10 million people and we have 8 million hectares of farmland. This is
a very rich country. The people of this country have not benefited. We
need stability," the president said.
The president's list of pro-business law reforms run deep, but he
remains upbeat that a major step towards achieving his dream of
reforming the judiciary has made a big leap forward in recent weeks.
"We have just completed a meeting with all the Somali lawyers and
people from various sectors to discuss judicial reforms. This meeting
has already proposed a list of priorities that would help us move
forward with the reform of the courts and how things would be done in
future," he said.

Source : Xinhua

Author: verified_user