Muqdisho, 05 October 2015 – The ancient Arab market in Mogadishu, Hamarweyne, is bustling with activities as city residents flock there on Saturday afternoon for all manner of goods.
Made-in-China brands, which stand out in this market are dotting every corner of the market, signaling changing times in Somalia as the country looks to the world’s second largest economy for trade.
Traditionally, Somali traders have been importing goods from Dubai and neighboring countries, but things seem to be changing as they make brisk business with made-in-China products.
“We have been importing goods from the Middle East, but most of what we get now is from China. Our suppliers now get these items from Chinese cities,” Sumaya Guled, a trader in the market, told Xinhua.
Sumaya said her customers are fast adapting to the new products from China, and the appeal for Chinese products is largely attributed to variety and constant supply.
“The good thing with China is variety. We do not have to worry about having to tell our clients to come another day,” she said.
The increasing imports from China mean that Beijing is immensely contributing to the rebuilding of Somalia, a country whose infrastructure was totally destroyed over two decades of conflict.
“These building materials come from China and most of the construction companies come to buy them from here. China is playing a part in the country’s reconstruction,” said another trader Guhad Aamir, who sells building materials.
Mogadishu is witnessing a reconstruction boom with many buildings coming up and old ones are being renovated. This has led to growth in raw materials imports, and traders are casting their eyes further to the east for more affordable supplies with quality.
From clothes to construction materials and now mobile phones, Chinese products are fast penetrating the Somali market due to improving security situation.
“You can see my trousers? Made in China. And shirt to match, all from China,” said enthusiastic Abu-Bakr Abdullahi, a cloth trader in the market.
China re-opened its embassy in Somalia last year after 23 years following the outbreak of Somali civil war. This development has led to improved diplomatic relations and is bound to boost trade between the two countries.