After two decades of civil war and lawlessness, the Somali capital Mogadishu has prospered in recent years and now wants to learn more from Turkish cities to modernize.
The city sent senior local officials to Konya, a provincial center about 230 kilometers (143 miles) south of the Turkish capital Ankara, to observe economic development, job creation, and water and water management. waste in a modern urban setting, according to the secretary. General of the Municipality of Mogadishu and its surrounding regional administration, Hirey Ahmed Roble.
Expressing his admiration for Konya, as well as that of other city officials, he said the visit made them realize that “we are living in the mid-1970s”.
â€œHonestly, what was seen there was amazing,â€ Roble told Anadolu (AA) Agency. “Konya is a city where a lot of its energy comes from using waste in a good management system, and we wanted to learn from them to share their knowledge and they were very welcoming.”
He said Mogadishu and Konya have reached an agreement for Konya to help Mogadishu Municipality train its employees in water and waste management, as well as clean energy so that the Somali capital can upgrade. modernization efforts on track and return to its glory days as one of the best managed cities in the Horn of Africa region.
“We are not going to reach the level of Konya in my lifetime, but we are doing everything possible to learn from them and use our knowledge to modernize our city,” he said.
Mogadishu is the largest city in Somalia, as well as the most populous with around 3 million inhabitants. It has experienced rapid economic and innovative growth over the past decade.
However, the municipality does not have enough equipment, such as vehicles, to effectively manage its waste production.
â€œWe have a few vehicles – some of which have already been donated by Istanbul – but they are not enough. Mogadishu is a large city with 17 neighborhoods. We are currently using what is in our possession, but sometimes several neighborhoods have to share a single car. to haul waste, which is not good at all, â€Roble said.
Pairing up with Konya was a good decision, he said. â€œOur expectations are very high. This is why all the city councils unanimously approved the twinning agreement.
Heykal Mohamed, sanitation activist and resident of Mogadishu, said the separation of the towns would benefit communities from the two, which share a “long history” and is an indication of progress for the people of the Somali city.
Highlighting the assistance Turkey has provided to Mogadishu regarding its infrastructure, he added that Ankara has built roads and schools in Mogadishu, installed solar lights and trained Somali soldiers.
â€œThe twinning of Mogadishu and Istanbul can bring integration of the two societies as the two societies are linked in terms of religion and each will benefit the civilization and culture of the other,â€ Mohamed said.
He also took note of Turkish President Recap Tayyip Erdogan’s first visit to Somalia in 2011, as the African country faced a devastating famine that killed over 20,000 people and displaced millions of people.
“Turkey is the only country that has rushed to us and extended its generosity and turned the eyes of the international community to Somalia during the drought,” he said.
Somalia is currently in the midst of another severe drought.
The regional administration of Banadir, where the capital is located, has warned that it is currently grappling with an influx of people fleeing the country’s water scarcity.
Roble said the situation was “dire” and beyond the administration’s control.
â€œThe IDP camps are overcrowded and we will soon have to set up new ones,â€ he told AA.
“We call on our Turkish brothers and the Turkish government to extend their assistance to those affected by the drought,” he said.
Turkish-Somali relations have developed over the years and as part of their cooperation strategy, Turkey has trained nearly a third of Somali military forces.
In addition to military cooperation, the two countries are also joining forces in the fields of health, education and other initiatives.
Turkey’s massive aid effort at the height of the 2011 famine endeared it to many Somalis, and it has continued to provide aid, much of it from private companies.
Turkey has built schools, hospitals and infrastructure and provided Somalis with scholarships to study in Turkey.
Somalia was also the first country where the Maarif Foundation succeeded in its foray, with the aim of replacing schools formerly run by the GÃ¼leniste Terror Group (FETÃ–).
The foundation was established in cooperation with the Ministry of National Education to provide educational services abroad and now operates schools that once belonged to FETÃ–, the terrorist group behind the attempted coup. of July 2016 in Turkey.