Long cut off from the rest of the world due to conflict, many people in Somalia and especially in the once volatile capital Mogadishu believe that a new era is dawning in the Horn of Africa nation.
As the capital is regenerating – businesses are opening up and life is springing back to its once dark, dreadful streets, thanks to the solar lighting program that has been initiated by the local Mogadishu municipality and funded by the Norwegian government.
Drilling and construction began in June to install solar-powered lampposts on Maka al-Mukarama road as the first stage of plan to provide streetlights throughout the capital, a decision highly welcomed by the local Somali and the business community who now operate even at night.
The lighting has also facilitated the movement of people late at night thus boosting trade for the Somali business community. The Mogadishu street lighting project organizers argue that Somalia enjoys unexploited sun and wind energy that can be used to light up streets, homes, hospitals and even business outlets.
Mogadishu Municipality says that the lampposts will last for about 15 years and only requires limited maintenance. However many people still remain skeptical on whether the street lighting program will reduce the crime rate and the rampant killings witnessed in Mogadishu in the past years.
“This is Makaa Al Mukarama Street, one of the streets that have been lit through the solar street lighting program. Many here in Mogadishu feel that the lighting program will change the lives of the people who were accustomed to being indoors at night in the past and hope for a better Mogadishu in the coming years”.