When most people consider Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, they often associate the city with piracy, terrorism, or instability. However, after a long history of violence and political volatility, Mogadishu is actually on an upswing. This is not to say that all of the problems plaguing Mogadishu in recent years have been solved, but there is slow and steady progress being made since the injection of foreign aid.
- Somalia has been a war-torn nation since 1991 and has been called the most unstable nation according to the Failed States Index. As the capital of Somalia, Mogadishu was no exception. During this period of political instability, it suffered greatly economically. Makeshift camps were set up throughout Mogadishu, and many of the city’s buildings, universities, schools, and colleges were also transformed into refugee camps.
- Evidence of the violence in the country can be seen throughout Mogadishu. As a result of the political instability, there are hundreds of military checkpoints throughout the city and many of the buildings are pock-marked from machine gun fire.. Also, even though the Bakara market thrives as an economic center of the city, those who can afford to shop there usually have to hire armed escorts to protect them just to browse the shop’s offerings.
- However, in late 2012, Somalia achieved a huge success by having its first election since the start of the civil war, ending the rule of an unstable interim government. Additionally, a new and widely praised constitution was put in place. Although the civil war continues to rattle the nation, the effects of Somalia’s newly achieved political prosperity has had a substantial impact on Mogadishu’s economy. In fact, as a sign of good faith in the nation’s new direction, USAID has announced plans to allocate an additional $20 million in development aid to Somalia. This aid includes building solar-powered lights in Mogadishu.
- Mogadishu’s economy is booming in 2013. The city once known for violence is now known for its rampant construction and expansion. Besides the real estate market, the telecommunications and agricultural industries have been thriving as well. The money that USAID has been investing in Mogadishu in recent years has had a major impact.
- Mogadishu’s success has been so dramatic that it may someday become a tourist hotspot. Because of the returning diaspora of Somalis who wish to aid the city’s development now that it is much safer, hotels and beach resorts are already underway under the advisement of ambitious Somali businessmen.
– Sagar Desai