Somalis return home to rebuild

From Global development | The Guardian Fri Jan 11 2013, 11:10:29

As construction replaces chaos, the east African country's business people and returning diaspora are rebuilding the nation

The sound of bullets that was once so common in the Somali capital of Mogadishu has been replaced by the noise of construction. New buildings and business are emerging from the carnage and lawlessness that pervaded the east African country for more than two decades.

Mursal Mak, a British-Somali property developer, left Somalia in 1987 and returned in 2009. For him, it has never been a better time to do business there. "I have seen a lot of changes from 2011 to now," he says. "Mogadishu is growing very fast. I was at the airport today for an hour and I saw six airlines, all of them commercial. There is also a traffic jam in the streets now; we can drive out late at night."

With so many people from the diaspora coming back, demand for properties and accommodation far exceeds supply, tripling rental prices in the prime areas of the city. "Retail estate is booming in Mogadishu," says Mak. "This evening I had a meeting with a client and he said: 'Mogadishu is becoming like Manhattan or central London; you are talking incredible prices when it comes to property.'

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