Hamar-weyne District (Barduuro) Market
Mogadishu is comprised of 16 districts. Each district is controlled at the local government level by a District Authority (DA); and lead by a District Commissioner.
SAACID has been partnering UN-HABITAT since 2005 in building local government capacity in all 16 districts; and also in rehabilitating prioritised public sector infrastructure throughout the city.
This article will be the first in a series of articles that will review the longer term impact of strategic investments that have been made through this multi-phased programme partnership with UN-HABITAT.
Barduuro Market in Hamar-weyne District was originally constructed in 1972, under the regime of Siad Barre. When the Barre government fell in January 1991 to an umbrella of clan-based militias, the market was closed, and remained closed until SAACID, UN-HABITAT and the Hamar-weyne DA partnered to rehabilitate the market in March 2009.
The market was originally designed as a meat and vegetable market; and was rehabilitated by SAACID and UN-HABITAT to perform the same function. After opening though, the DA received a lot of public and business feedback, asking for the market to be turned into a general goods market. The market is now home to some 60 flourishing businesses.
The market is managed by an independent business committee. Shiekh Nor Jeylani (42) is the Chairperson of Barduuro Market Committee, and he talked about the history and evolution of the market. “This market was built in 1972 by the previous military regime of Siyad Barre”, said Sheikh Nor. “At that time the market was the biggest in Somalia for vegetables and meat - especially this section which was the vegetable section; but now there are many different businesses in this market, because the main vegetable market for Mogadishu is now Bakaaro Market in Hawl-wadag District; and Hamar-weyne has lost its competitive advantage for vegetables and meat”.
In the most innovative Somali tradition of Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP), The DA worked with the established small business sector in Hamar-weyne District to rebrand the market template. The DA does not leverage any taxation against vendors; but the Benadir Regional Authority [Mogadishu regional government] collects, on average, US $6 in monthly rent for each business. Some security is provided for the market; but there is no provision for ongoing maintenance of the market infrastructure, and this remains a weakness in this business model.
“I come from a business family. My father used to sell vegetables in this place. 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, where we paid rent for nothing; but now this place is ours, and there is real infrastructure here. In truth, our business is making great progress since we were allowed to establish ourselves in this market. Before, we were all trading on the road site, which was not convenient for customers or business; and our daily portage costs to and from storage took a lot of the profit. Business can work here easily, and we have created many jobs.
This market became a warehouse after the government fell in 1991. In fact, without SAACID and UN-HABITAT, the market would still be a warehouse; and the many small business people that are here now wouldn’t have thriving businesses today. What we lack in the business sector is the leadership on construction and development, and SAACID and UN-HABITAT are providing that very useful roll. Therefore, SAACID, UN-HABITAT and the Hamar-weyne District Authority have made this market and its many businesses possible”.
The results have been remarkable in a war-torn context; and the market hums with vibrant activity.