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Somali Street Food Cafe opens thanks to Brotherhood of St Laurence’s small business program



Picture: Sarah Matray

SHARIFA Abiikar never planned to open a cafe.

The Glenroy woman signed up for the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s small business program in the hope of setting up a social club for Somali women.

But that all changed the day she brought in lunch to share with the group.

“They loved my food and gave me great feedback. Many of the women even offered to be my business partners in a cafe,” Ms Abiikar said.

A year on, Ms Abiikar is the proud owner and head chef at Glenroy’s Somali Street Food Cafe, which has hungry customers traipsing across Melbourne for a taste of authentic African cuisine.

Ms Abiikar said she could not have done it without the Brotherhood’s Stepping Stones to Small Business program.

“I have always been business minded but I didn’t know where to start. I used to think there was a lot of preparation and you needed a lot of capital,” Ms Abiikar said.

“But they taught me how to start with the basics. You don’t need a lot of capital, you just need an idea.”

Ms Abiikar said while her main customers were fellow Somali-Australians eager to try food that tasted like home, interest was spreading.

“We are the only Somalian food in this area but our customers are not only Somali, they are very multicultural,” she said.

The Stepping Stones program recently celebrated 60 years of service to people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.

They marked the occasion with the launch of Opening Doors, a book celebrating the group’s long history of community engagement which features Ms Abiikar on the cover.

Executive director Tony Nicholson said the book reflected a changing country.

“In its modest way, this publication offers a mirror to the progress of our diverse nation with its rich waves of migration and refugee settlement that have greatly enhanced our society,” he said.

Somali Street Food Cafe is at 84 Wheatsheaf Rd, Glenroy.

Source: Leader Community News


DP World says Djibouti incident could hurt Africa investment



DUBAI (Reuters) – Port operator DP World said on Thursday that Djibouti’s decision to seize control of a terminal project could hurt African efforts to attract investment.

The Dubai state-owned port operator is facing twin political challenges in Africa.

Djibouti abruptly ended its contract to run the Doraleh Container Terminal last month and Somalia’s parliament voted this week to ban the company.

DP World has called the Djibouti move illegal and said it had begun proceedings before the London Court of International Arbitration, which last year cleared the company of all charges of misconduct over the concession.

“Africa needs infrastructure investments and if countries can change their law [to take assets then this] is going to basically make it more difficult to attract investment,” Chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem told a news conference in Dubai.
DP World reported 14.9 percent rise in 2017 profit to $1.18 billion profit and said that it would invest $1.4 billion across its global portfolio including in Berbera in Somaliland. [L8N1QX0F2]

It is developing a port in Berbera in partnership with the governments of Somaliland and Ethiopia. It is also developing a greenfield free trade zone in the breakaway region.

Bin Sulayem said he was not concerned by the vote in Somalia’s parliament to ban DP World from the country, which the parliament said nullified their Somaliland contract.

It is unclear how Somalia’s federal government could enforce the ban given Somaliland’s semi-autonomous status.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa accounted for about 42 percent of the cargo DP World handled in 2017.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; editing by Jason Neely

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INTERVIEW: Somalia gears towards improving its monetary policies



CGTN — Somalia’s central government imposed a five percent sales tax this month as part of efforts to win billions of dollars in international debt relief. This was followed by protests in Mogadishu’s main market by traders opposed to the tax. CGTN’s Abdulaziz Billow sat down with the country’s minister of finance who shed more light on the country’s monetary policies

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



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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