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Want to Invest in Somalia? Here is My Humble Story

BY KADAR MOHAMED

Abdinasir Mohamed Warsame, 37, is a Somali-Swedish entrepreneur. He returned to Somalia in 2013 to invest and make his contribution towards reconstruction and development of his homeland. He did this after successfully establishing and sustaining award winning businesses in the US, Dubai and in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. Born in Mogadishu, Warsame left Somalia for Sweden at the age of 14. He pursued much of his primary and secondary education in Tensta Gymnasium School in Stockholm. Warsame is married and is a father of two boys and a girl. He established his first business with the help of his brother Abdulkadir, in the Minneapolis, US, in 1999.

That was two years after finishing his college diploma in business administration. Today, Karmel Hotel is almost a brand name well known to many Somalis in Minneapolis. Karmel in Minneapolis was established to respond to the demands of the members of the Somali community then. They complemented the conventional eating and entertainment space for coffee and leisure. After successfully settling his first business, Warsame ventured into Kenya’s Capital Nairobi, where he established his brand – Karmel Hotel and Restaurant – with service capacity of upto 200 people at a time. His entrepreneurial instinct demanded for a more challenging exploration to another destination.

 The United Arab Emirates came into his mind and in the year 2006, he established his brand in Dubai. Karmel Dubai has got a service capacity of up to 100 people at a time. Resources Eventually on March 15, 2013, Warsame opted to return to Somalia to contribute towwards the rebuilding of the country. His determination to offer quality service and commitment can be discerned from his face as he talks about his business journey. He established his brand in Hodan District, Near Digfeer Hospital, with a service capacity of up to 250 people at a time. He injected a capital of about $250,000 for his Mogadishu establishment.

Warsame’s model of success is in customer service and western dishes, which are an alternative to local foods for individuals and families. He managed to bring the first Pizza brand to Somalia, high standard ice creams, Grilled chicken, BBQs and more. The other aspect of his model for success is to provide not only sitting space for eating and drinking, but also space where people can sit quietly and think out issues. The facility is open to the public from 7am to 11pm. He plans to open a second branch in Mogadishu. Those plans are in the final stages, he says. Warsame attributes this business growth also to the improvement of security and road infrastructure, and the outing culture.

Warsame views on the future of Somalia are quite positive. One, he believes that the union of Somali Diaspora and those who never fled from Somalia could provide a good contribution towards peace and stability in the country. He also believes the two would craft the Somali destiny from within as opposed to foreigndrawn solutions to Somali problems. Hence his appeal to members of the Somali in the diaspora to return to the country in large numbers and invest in order to consolidate peace and lay the foundation for a greater Somalia. With optimism, Warsame argues, a number of business challenges could be dealt with by the government. Such challenges include insecurity, lack of human capital as well as the absence of institutions to finance business.

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