Monday, June 03, 2013
After 22 years of civil strife and political turmoil, a new era has
dawned on Somalia and the country is embarking on a dynamic path of
political and economic renewal.
This is after the successful liberation of large territory from the
control of Al Shabaab militia last year by the African Union Mission in
Somalia (AMISOM) which widened a window of opportunity for lasting peace
Many investors are now seeing Somalia as an increasingly enticing
market for investment as the country starts rebuilding itself from
Simatech Shipping, one of the largest feeder service companies in the
Gulf, the Indian Sub-Continent, Far East and East Africa, has started
providing shipping services at Mogadishu Port in Somalia.
Container trade to Mogadishu, the country's capital city, was
suspended some years ago due to the political situation and the risk of
piracy. With the absence of container services, traders have had to
depend on break bulk operations using smaller vessels.
Simatech Shipping started its services at the port in January this year and has already invested close to Sh1billion.
Country Manager in Somalia Noaman Akram says things are looking
bright and that this was the time for investors to venture into the
"We started looking at Somalia about a year and a half ago and my
first visit to Mogadishu was in January 2012. We were motivated after
being approached severally by many NGOs and UN organisations to offer
logistics services at the port of Mogadishu. We went there and luckily
enough we found good people who were ready to guide and support and
encouraged us to kick off," Akram said at an interview with Capital FM
The firm has however urged banks especially from the East African
region to take the lead adding that the significant requirement at this
stage in Somalia is provision of financial services to allow easy flow
Jazeera Palace Hotel is another investment in Mogadishu city
according to the General Manager Justus Kisaulu. The investors saw the
business potential in the country and took the risk.
Despite the insecurity situation at the time,
the five star hotel was constructed in 2010 and as Kisaulu says; they
believed that there would be peace at some time in the country for
faster economic growth.
The hotel officially started its operations in 2012.
"I moved to Mogadishu last year to be able to work well in my
position and as you know, things were still not very good. There were
attacks here and there especially in the town. But for us to have a
hotel of about 70 rooms with even presidential suites, it means our
priority was capitalizing on the business potential we saw ahead,"
"Our aim with my fellow directors was not joining the 'insecurity
song' about Somalia but taking part in rebuilding the country."
He says the hotel has been able to attract all kinds of tourists with
one of their marketing strategy being assuring their customers of total
security and giving good services. All the visitors have to be
accompanied by armed security officers from the airport to the hotel and
"We don't just accommodate any person because they are visiting
Somalia. No... we start vetting them way early by looking at where the
visitor is coming from and why he or she is in the city," he says.
"I am a Kenyan and a father of two but my family still lives in
Nairobi for various reasons. But Somalia is a safer place even if I am
not with my family there."
The crucial issues to be addressed in the country are infrastructure
and provisions of basic social amenities like water, food, proper
shelter, energy among others.
"Somalia is very important to us and the first reason is that we are
neighbours," says Jackson Machuhi, East Africa head of sales at Barefoot
Power Africa, a manufacturer and distributor of solar lighting
"If Kenya has only 31 percent power penetration, what about Somalia?
We have plans to go there too and be counted as among the developers of
the country," he said.
The first Somali Reconstruction and Investment Conference and
Exhibition held in Nairobi last week was evidence that indeed the
Somalia government is open for investors.
The two-day event brought together key policy makers from the
Government of Somalia and Somaliland, top decision makers from
international and regional development organizations, and participants
from public and private sector.