Mogadishu — Mogadishu Municipality is installing solar panels on Wadnaha Road and Maka al-Mukarama Road as part of the second phase of a project started last year to restore city street lights on all major roads in the capital.
Mogadishu Municipality Secretary General Abdikafi Hilowle Osman said the Norwegian government supplied the equipment to install the lights and the municipality has hired 200 people to work on the project.
Norway also donated the solar lighting system and 50 lampposts for a trial project on Maka al-Mukarama Road last year. Solar installation on the road was partially completed in June, with work to be finalised in this second phase.
Osman said the municipality has enough panels to install on all two-way streets in Mogadishu. The project will cost about $140,000 and continue for two months.
"We will put solar panels on all the roads, and this is a big project that aims to make Mogadishu a beautiful city," Osman told reporters on Friday (February 15th), adding that the city is installing the panels to improve the visibility on the streets at night.
Street lighting improves business
Business owners in Mogadishu have welcomed the installation of solar lights.
Aweys Sheikh Abdirahman, 27, owns a pastry shop on Wadnaha Road. He said he is very pleased with the solar panels installed on his street, as they have improved his business and made traveling easy at night.
"Before the panels were installed, people went home early. Now we stay out until 10 pm because we have enough light," he told Sabahi. "This has changed our business and I hope the changes continue."
Kalthum Hashi, a 36-year-old who sells milk in the evening along Wadnaha Road, says there are more customers at night than during the day now, a change due to the lighted streets.
"I am happy with the lights that Mogadishu Municipality has installed because you can shop any time you want, unlike before," she told Sabahi.
The solar project shows the positive changes in Mogadishu, said 53-year-old Ibrahim Herow, adding that the city is starting to resemble the Mogadishu he knew before the civil war.
"This solar electricity project by the municipality was a necessary one and I congratulate the municipality on the steps they have taken," he said.