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Fisherwoman says new boat engine will help her haul

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ICRC — It’s an uncommon site to see women in fishing boats at sea in Somalia, making a living by hauling in the region’s bountiful seafood. But in the coastal town of Eyl, one prominent fisherman is actually a fisherwoman.

Asha Abdikarim stands on the sandy beach of Eyl among the town’s fishermen, dressed in a black robe and brown scarf. She is in her element, standing on the golden sand here: she has been fishing for nearly two decades.

Being in a traditionally male-dominated career has not stopped the 45-year-old from pursuing what she enjoys most – fishing, a career she began in 1999. Her knowledge and skills of the sea and passion for the art of fishing shine through as she talks about professional fundamentals such as the best times and locations to snare a good catch.

“During the monsoon season it is difficult working in the ocean. The boats can’t enter. The sea is furious and winds are very strong,” said Asha, a mother of three.

Somalia’s coastal areas see a six-month rotation between the low and high fishing season, which is determined by monsoon winds. In the low season, from May to September, high waves and strong winds pose a risk to small- and medium-size commercial boats. Artisanal fisheries are the most affected by the low season, leading them to perform limited trips to sea.

Eyl is an isolated coastal town that empties out during the low season, when many of the fishermen leave to find work elsewhere. Asha is one of the remaining fisher folk in the town, and she is looking forward to the upcoming fishing season in October.

Asha didn’t set out to be a fisherwoman in her younger years. She started out as a housewife, but then her marriage fell apart and she struggled to find a way to care for her three children.

Because her ex-husband had been a fisherman, she already knew how to store and prepare fish for the market. Those are skills she would put into practice after she built a hotel to cater to tourists who visit the historic town of Eyl.

“There was no guest house in this town before. People came only for one day and left before dusk. But now they have a decent place to rest where I cook fresh seafood delicacies for them,” she said.

The viability of Asha’s business got a boost when the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in July provided 20 solar-powered freezers and 20 boat engines to fishing families as a way to protect the mainstay livelihood of Eyl. Asha received one of each.

“I store the fish, lobster, and shark that I catch in the freezer and it keeps them from going bad,” she said.

The ICRC donated boat engines to three coastal communities in Somalia so that fishermen can stay out at sea longer. The freezers will allow the seafood to stay edible longer. The combination of the motors and freezes will allow the community to increase their catches and export more fish this upcoming season, Asha said.

“We are hopeful, inshallah. We will get our fortune. This sea is a blessing given by Allah.”

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Somalia Tax Argument From Both Sides: Bakara Traders vs The Government

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Somalia’s busiest and largest open-air market in Mogadishu has been closed for the past two days.

Business owners in Bakara market are protesting over a five percent tax imposed by the government, in an effort to pay back some of its international debt.

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Somali government introduces 5% sales tax to boost revenues

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The Somali government has launched an aggressive tax collection campaign. The administration has imposed a five percent sales tax as part of efforts to win billions of dollars in international debt relief. However there are concerns on whether the country’s powerful businessmen pay up.

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Business: China’s Tecno takes market lead in Somalia amid rapid growth

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MOGADISHU (Xinhua) – Three years ago when Chinese phone-maker, Tecno made its entry through local dealers in Somalia, mobile phone users got a chance to sample new brand in a market which had then been dominated by Nokia, Samsung among other brands.

Tecno has today positioned itself as a force to be reckoned with in terms of brand penetration and market dominance in the Horn of Africa nation.

“People were not really sure if they could buy mobile phones from China,” Mohamed Dahir, an official dealer of Techno Mobile brand in Mogadishu told Xinhua on Monday.

“We brought the first mobile sets in 2014 and they soon became popular with the middle-class and particularly students who liked it because of its longer lasting battery,” said Dahir as he helps clients try some of the latest Tecno series he recently stocked.

Tecno Mobile which prides itself as the first dual-SIM handset supplier in Africa dedicated to transforming state-of-the-art technologies for emerging markets, has made significant inroads into Somalia placing itself as one of the market leaders in smart phone technology.

Somalis, just like their counterparts in other African countries, have embraced smart phones as their primary medium of communication as millions of users document moments and share them online to the world.

“I have found this brand (Tecno) to be my most favorite choice for smart phones,” Nuradin Abdulkadir, one of the Tecno users told Xinhua in Mogadishu said. “It has a good internet connection capacity and several exciting features.” Abdulkadir said.
The longer lasting battery makes Tecno a first choice for Mohamed Omar who contends his choice for smart phones is largely influenced by its ability to retain power for a long time.

“I have bought several phones but always was forced to carry a power bank around because the battery goes off easily. But with Tecno, I can go the whole day without worries of being off service.” Omar said.

Omar, a student in one of the universities in Mogadishu noted that the phone has gained traction among students who like the brands because of its features and cost.

“The prices for Tecno phones are friendly for students and at the same time they are able to get the same or even better features found in far more expensive brands,” Omar said.

The dealer Dahir said his customers have now fully embraced the China-made phone despite earlier fears about phones from China.

“It was not easy to convince customers to buy phones from China. They had built a relationship with brands from Europe and the United States; but with time, they got convinced that Tecno could offer them a real alternative and superior taste,” said Dahir.

He added that the dual sim option for an original phone was a plus for Tecno.

“Our customers got the chance to own an original phone which allows them to use twin Sim cards. This strongly made our customers convinced that they were getting a good run for their money and I can say we now control at least 50 percent of the market.” he said.

The entry of Tecno Mobile into Somalia not only revolutionized smart phone technology but also opened avenues for job creation among the population, especially the youth who form the bulk of the population.

“Several young men and women have now worked as sales executives in our dealer shops while others have now started their own shops buying from us in bulk or importing directly from China,” added Dahir.

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