SAACID has been partnering with UN-Habitat since 2005 to build local government capacity in all 16 districts in Mogadishu and rehabilitate high-priority public sector infrastructure throughout the city. Barduuro Market in Hamarweyne District was built in 1972, under the regime of Siad Barre. After the Barre government fell in 1991, the market remained closed until SAACID, UN-Habitat, and the Hamarweyne district authority partnered to rehabilitate it in March 2009. The rehabilitated market maintained its original function selling meat and vegetables. After opening, though, the district authority received a lot of public and business feedback, asking for the market to be turned into a general goods market. It is now home to some 60 flourishing businesses and is managed by an independent business committee.
In the most innovative Somali tradition of public–private partnerships, the district authority worked with the established small business sector in Hamarweyne District to rebrand the market template. It does not tax vendors, but the Benadir Regional Administration collects, on average, USD 6 in monthly rent from each business. Some security is provided for the market, but there is no provision for ongoing maintenance of the market infrastructure, a notable weakness in this business model.
Sheikh Nor Jeylani is the chairperson of the Barduuro Market Committee. “My father used to sell vegetables in this place,” he remembered. “He started this business in 1969. When I was child, I used to help my father, as my children now help me. In fact, all through the decades that the market was closed, we were doing business outside the market; but now this place is ours, and there is real infrastructure here. Business can work here easily, and we have created many jobs. What we lack in the business sector is the leadership on construction and development: SAACID, UN-Habitat, and the Hamarweyne district authority have made this market and its many businesses possible.”
Wadajir Meat Market was established in 1975, but was destroyed and looted in the early 1990s. It remained closed for almost 15 years before SAACID and UN-Habitat partially rehabilitated it in 2009. In 2012, they rehabilitated a second market building next to the first, with 60 additional vendor stalls. It is now a hub for the largest businesses in the district; the vendors sell camel, beef, and goat meat.
Hussein Ga’al Geedow, a 54-year-old man, is one of the butchers in the market and the chairperson of the Wadajir Meat Market: “I have 2 wives and 11 children. I have been doing this job for 43 years. I moved to Wadajir District in the early 1990s to escape conflict, and continued being a butcher. We used to trade in the open air, which was not suitable for selling meat because of sanitation. When SAACID rehabilitated the market, things improved dramatically. I now slaughter five goats daily. I am the only breadwinner for my family, and our life is very good now. The other market vendors have also become fully self-sufficient. The market is secure and the sanitation is good; it provides a central focus for shoppers in the district. We do have a problem though. The market has become so popular that there are not enough vendor positions; some of the work, like crushing the large, heavy bones, has to be done outside in unsanitary conditions. We are thus asking SAACID and its construction partner UN-Habitat to consider building a special section [for this] next to the main market.”
For both the Barduuro Market and Wadajir Market rehabilitation projects, the results have been remarkable in a war-torn context. There is still room for improvement, but the markets hum with vibrant activity.