Feature: Mogadishu’s glitzy suburb, the face of resurgence in Somalia
A multimillion U.S. dollar residential area located 7 km outside the Somali capital of Mogadishu is currently the embodiment of resurgence in a country that has grappled with two decades of turmoil.
The area called Daru-salam boasts 500 residential houses, football pitches, schools, a university, hospital and a glitzy shopping mall.
Daru-salam opened its gates to the public and potential home owners two months ago and is currently a prized suburb for Mogadishu residents looking for ambience and security.
“The initial phase of this project cost 20 million dollars and Somalia Bank provided financing. Development of the second phase will commence soon,” Daru-salam marketing director Fuad Ahmed Warsameh told Xinhua on Thursday.
He said the decision to invest in Daru-salam city on the outskirts of Mogadishu was triggered by huge demand for suburban homes by wealthy Somali people in Diaspora.
He noted that Somalia Diaspora in Europe, North America and Middle East prefers staying in gated residential premises whenever they return back to the motherland.
“We were inspired by the need to bring new housing designs to Somalia and hope this concept will be replicated in other parts of the country by investors,” Warsameh said.
He revealed that an estimated 50 families had already bought residential houses in Daru-salam city.
The city relies on solar energy to light homes and business premises unlike other suburbs in Mogadishu that rely heavily on carbon emitting sources of energy.
The availability of sunlight throughout the year in Somalia has fuelled investments in solar energy.
“I have bought one of the units for my family because I find this place quiet and clean. It is a respite to commotion and pollution in the city,” Mohamed Iman told Xinhua.
Another potential buyer, Mohamed Omar revealed he was planning to buy a housing unit in Daru Salam city.
“I have come here to survey the houses on offer and will eventually buy one for my family,” said Omar.
Financing for mega housing units in Mogadishu is a huge challenge as risk averse banks shy away from this sector. Likewise, the mortgage market in Somalia has experienced a sluggish growth in the last two decades.
Nevertheless, the return of normalcy in Mogadishu and state incentives have motivated local and foreign to develop suburban homes that are in great demand.
The resurgent real estate sector in Mogadishu is the embodiment of resilience and entrepreneur spirit of Somali people who have defied a tragic past to contribute to their nation’s reconstruction.