Sabahi (Washington, DC)

28 December 2012

Somalia: Municipality of Mogadishu to Carry Out Large-Scale Reconstruction Projects

Mogadishu — The Municipality of Mogadishu will soon implement large-scale development projects to renovate the capital's 16 neighbourhoods and strengthen the capacity of local authorities.

The reconstruction activities fall under the $9.6 million Dan Guud project, which is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and part of the Benadir administration's strategic plan for 2013, municipality spokesman Mohamed Yusuf said.

"This project is an important part of a larger plan put in place by the city to repair the infrastructure of Mogadishu," he told Sabahi. "Each of Mogadishu's 16 districts has been allocated $606,000 for rebuilding the infrastructure of the capital so that it can be transformed into a modern city that can compete with other capitals."

After two decades of fighting, much of Mogadishu's once vibrant atmosphere has been ruined. But after al-Shabaab was forced from the city in August 2011, the government has worked to rebuild the city and restore it to its former glory.

He said the project will begin in eight districts: Yaqshiid, Dharkenley, Waberi, Hamar Jajab, Warta Nabada (formerly known as Wardhigley), Hiliwa, Bondhere and Daynile.

The project includes rehabilitating sports stadiums and providing lighting for main roads. "The rehabilitation of the stadiums is an important step in bringing back sporting events and encouraging young people to take up sports and distance themselves from violence," Yusuf said. "Street lights will also improve public safety, security and the social movement of people."

More than 130 construction companies have presented proposals to municipal authorities, out of which eight will be chosen based on expertise in architecture, construction, planning and management of infrastructure-related projects.

Hodan District Commissioner Abdi Mohamed said he looks forward to the projects, as the destruction caused by war has forced his staff to work out of rented rooms. "Sometimes, we do not even have enough money to regularly pay for the rented rooms," he said.

"The Dan Guud project gives us hope to rebuild our offices and work towards once again providing basic services to our communities," he told Sabahi.

Mohamed thanked everyone who has participated in rebuilding the district, particularly donors who have given financial support to help the municipality implement service and development projects related to health, the environment and construction.

Ali Abdullahi, who teaches economics at al-Jazeera University in Mogadishu, says these development projects constitute the largest reconstruction effort in Mogadishu in recent times.

"The Dan Guud project funded by USAID will be the most ambitious project to be implemented in Mogadishu so far," he told Sabahi. "This project will contribute towards creating lots of jobs and will also reinforce stability in the city."

"It is a spectacular project that will help the city of Mogadishu rise from the ashes," Abdullahi said. "There is now a glimpse of hope that Mogadishu will regain its lost glory after 20 years of conflict and chaos."

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