By Special Correspondent
By December this year businessman Bashir Yusuf Osman will break ground for phase one of the first international standard beachside tourist resort in Mogadishu, cementing his long-running loyalty for the city that is fast rebuilding after a protracted civil war.
The facility that is projected to cost about $4.5 million on completion will be built on a chunk of land Osman acquired in Jazeera beach, south of the city.
“We plan to implement the beach resort project in three phases that will each cost about $1.5 million. Construction of phase one of the project should commence by December 2016,” he told The Somalia Investor Magazine in an exclusive interview.
The businessman already owns three other facilities operating under the Peace Hotel chain in Mogadishu.
The chain of hotels are among the few that were still operating in Mogadishu even during the conflict with most of their clientele drawn from the humanitarian and international media sectors.
“We are neutral and see no reason for targeted attacks on us. We want to show the community that we are doing this for them. We want to invest back in Mogadishu.”
“The business people have a big role in changing the situation in Mogadishu and one way we can do this is by creating jobs for our youth,” said the businessman.
Although security remains shaky, Mogadishu has in recent years been experiencing an economic renaissance, buoyed by members of the diaspora returning home to rebuild the country as well as the efforts of local business community who remained at home throughout the conflict such as Osman.
“Tourism numbers are improving and we want tap into the opportunities presented. The story of Mogadishu is one of great potential contrary to the imagery that is painted by many people out there,” businessman Bashir Yusuf Osman of Peace Business Group.
Osman hopes his new beach resort will attract holidaymakers from abroad as he consolidated his businesses.
“I have been in Mogadishu all my life taking the risk and I will soldier on. In any case the situation has improved immensely and today we have street lighting, running tap water and paved roads, luxuries we didn’t have at the peak of the conflict,” he said.
“Now we can clearly see where we are going in terms of the country’s future and we are happy about that,” added Osman.
The entrepreneur said business reforms in key areas such as project approvals have also boosted confidence among investors in Somalia.
“When you look back business is much better than before and we hope it only gets better,” Osman said.
Mogadishu’s growing economy is manifested not just in real estate and the hotel sectors, telecommunications and aviation are also rising.
Osman says Mogadishu offers huge potential especially in the real estate and construction as the city rebuilds from war. He notes that finding construction material is now easier as materials are readily available.
Besides running secured hotels, the businessman also runs security services that cover offices, homes and even motorcade escorts around Mogadishu. Osman arranges professional security teams for journalists and foreigners visiting the Peace Hotels.
“Tourism numbers are improving and we want tap into the opportunities presented. The story of Mogadishu is one of great potential contrary to the imagery that is painted by many people out there,” he said.
An influx of foreign investors into Somalia has also heightened demand for conference facilities.
Somalia is also registering growth in its tourism industry. Despite the constant threat of terror attacks, many daring tourists are queuing to explore Mogadishu’s bustling markets and idyllic beaches.
According to top US travel website, TripAdvisor some must-visits sites that are popular for visitors to Mogadishu including Shanghai old city and the union mosque among other sites.
Tourism remains a key contributor to Gross Domestic Product of countries worldwide and the resurge in the sector could help Somalia shore much needed resources for its reconstruction programmes after a lengthy war.