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New market means increased economic opportunities for one Somali town

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In Somalia’s Puntland region, Bossaso’s local market provides a source of income for local traders. For women, however, the market is especially important.

After years of conflict, many households are reliant on money generated by women to survive. In some households, women contribute more than 70 percent to their families’ income.

And the majority of women in Somalia earn money from informal sectors – including working in local markets.

Unfortunately for traders in Bossaso, selling their goods in the city’s main market was no longer an option. In 2012, a fire severely damaged Bossaso Market – a place many women traders depended on for their livelihoods.

With funding from the Government of Japan, UNOPS oversaw the construction of a new market with improved facilities to support women entrepreneurs in Bossaso.

“We’re grateful for the support of the Government of Japan and UNOPS, who worked closely with us to implement the project,” said Engineer Yazin Mire, Bossaso’s mayor. “Many businesses will benefit from this market, which will help several different communities, including Yemeni refugees and returnees who fled from the conflict in Yemen.”

Giving women a say in their future

Before the construction of the new Bossaso Market began, information was collected from female traders during an extensive consultation process. This allowed them to be actively involved in the design and planning of the new site, ensuring their needs were taken into account from the beginning. In all, nearly 2,000 market traders, both male and female, participated in the data collection process. That data was used to define the scope of the construction of the new market.

An extensive community needs assessment was also conducted to encourage a sense of community ownership of the project, as well as to contribute to the long-term sustainability of the new market.

Training for the future

The new Bossaso Market will enable traders, particularly women, to become economically self-sufficient. In addition to the new market, local entrepreneurs also received training – carried out by the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention – aimed at teaching them new skills to help their businesses thrive. More than 200 traders – nearly 90 percent of them women – either received business skills training or business start-up kits.

“The Government of Japan is delighted with the success of this project, which contributed to stabilization of the region through the empowerment of women, in collaboration with the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention,” said the Embassy of Japan. “The Government of Japan is confident that those who got vocational training will play an important role in leading the local economy and society.”

Asiya Ali Farah owns a kiosk in Bossaso. She participated in a training session on microfinancing. “One day, I hope I will become a lender,” Asiya said. “So that I can give loans to Somali women who need help starting up small businesses to feed their families.”

“Microfinancing is not new in Somalia, but there are not many female traders with access to it yet,” explained Japan Center for Conflict Prevention Secretary General Yukiko Ishii. “The training was intended to help participants access emerging, locally available microfinancing schemes to boost their small business.”

The new skills learned as part of the training sessions will help market traders generate a higher income. This in turn can help increase economic development in the region – and encourage stability.

Business

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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