The Somalia Annual Business Awards took place on Friday January 10th 2019 evening, with a record 90 companies taking part in the competition.
Mr. Mohamed Maareey, the Minister for Commerce and Industry who graced the ceremony the Jaazera Palace Hotel emphasized that such initiatives would go a long way in boosting investor confidence in the economy which in the past had been ravaged by war.
According to the chief Judge of the Awards, Mr Sultan Omri, the annual awards give companies the opportunities to identify their hidden potentials by putting up sound business structures and benchmarking with leading industry players globally.
"There are a lot of hidden potential in the Somalia business sector. We have to wake up and build we must show that we want to be the best. So far some of the parameters we used to acess the companies have pushed some of the participants to change the way they are doing business".
Mr Omri said companies were judged based on overall leadership, technology, human resources practices and corporate social responsibility.
"Since we commence the awards and gave out the selection criteria and having highlighted some of the qualities that have made winners stand out , we noticed that some companies embarked on internal reforms of their processes, hiring experts to streamline their operations to enhance efficiency", said Mr Omri.
Somalia business community has for a long time operating with proper structures due to lack of manpower and stability. In the recent past, investor confidence in Mogadishu has seen the return of international airlines such as Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and Qatar Airways. The city buildings, once riddled by bullet holes have now been replaced by high-rise office and residential building
The construction of an 18-floor building, which is set to be the tallest in the capital, has also commenced . International Shipping Company MAERSK also commenced operations in the Mogadishu port in conjunction with the Somalia-based Banadir Logistics.
The awards an initiative of the Mogadishu based Somalia Investor Magazine consortium aims to award best business practices and individual managers who perform exceptionally , with the aim of sharing best practices, increasing competitive and nurturing leadership.
During this year's ceremony, Hass Petroleum Somalia emerged the best overall company while Bandir Logistics' Mohamed Ahmed was voted the CEO of the year. Sagal Travel and Tours emerged the best in the youth SME category.
Started in 2017, the awards have over the years seen an increase in the number of firms and individuals increase from 30 to 60 last year, with t the hope that the next edition will Africa more entries.
According to the organizers, the Somalia Investor Consortium, the awards are also part of an initiative to change the narrative that Somalia Is not a good place to do business due to hostility and lack of manpower by highlighting, through the media the robust business environment that the relative political stability has ushered in.
"We aim to make Somali business to realize potentials and promote the Private- Public-Dialogue, the SME sector, as well as Women and Youth entrepreneurs. We want to show case the Somali side of creative, bold and daring positive attitude of Somalis that has kept the country breathing since the advent of the civil strife in 1991", reads part of a statement from the consortium.