Mogadishu: unaffordable and unsafe

Mogadishu is one of the most expensive in the world according to UM interviewees. Photo: Google

Mogadishu (UM) – The capital city is one of the most expensive in the world according to UM interviewees. Over the last week residents of Mogadishu were interviewed about safety, housing, food prices and public services. Almost all agreed that everything cost too much and they never see the services they pay for.

“Mogadishu is the worst city in the Horn of Africa. Period. It is good for Somali standards but a World away even from may small cities in the region,” said Mohamed Ainane a lifelong resident. “Everything is expensive and you don’t know what you are paying for.”

Almost all interviewed argued that housing and food were both very expensive across the city. With very high unemployment most admitted to living with family. Those that could afford to move out said that the rents were high and housing conditions were poor.

“I earn $300 a month and my rent takes $120. I have 5 children and a sick mother living with me so we never ever have enough,” said Abdirashid Ahmed, a store manager. “As soon as I get paid, it all goes out again.I am a working poor man.”

“I earn $150 and cannot afford to live anywhere alone. I live with my parents and family members,” said a 34 year old who was too embarrassed to disclose his name. “We are suffering here in Mogadishu.”

All interviewed agreed that the the lack of jobs and the high competition for the few that exist, is causing stress among residents. According to some, the public sector employment which they focus on for its security is not available and the private sector is “impossible” to find anything in unless you are relatives of the owner.

“I have been looking for work 3 years and still nothing. I have a masters degree but there is no work now in IT which I know,” said Suleyman Abdi. “It is shameful but I live on $100 sent by my brother from Sweden.”

High rents, bad housing conditions, high unemployment is made worse by the rising cost of food. Most food is imported and very little is grown at home so prices are naturally higher.

“The cost of basic foods has gone up and is unaffordable. Powdered baby milk which my kids need is over $10,” said Nura Aden. “Sometimes it is hard to find vegetables and rice we can afford because prices change regularly.”

All interviewed felt that insecurity plays a major role in the price inflation and joblessness of Mogadishu. All also felt that the Benadir Regional Administration is not well managed enough or has the right capacity to do much.

“We don’t need Diaspora parties that the local government enjoys regularly, we need basic public services, security and jobs,” said a man who did not want to be named. “The Benadir Regional Administration is run on Facebook likes and ego. I don’t think Eng. Yarisow and his group care about Mogadishu or it’s people. If they did we would be better served.”