Civil War, Anarchy....Yet Somalia's Mobile Phone Industry Thrives
A number of mobile phone, Internet and landline companies are revolutionizing Somalia’s telecommunications industry.
Among their customers are farmers and business people.
Establishing a phone company and making it profitable in a country where there is no government is a challenge according to sales and marketing director for Nationlink Telecom, Abdulahi Amir.
“When the country’s civil war occurred, a growing need for people to communicate with each other came about as families became dispersed. The industry took off throughout the country almost immediately since there was no other form for people to communicate,” Amir says.
Weak Governance Creates Advantage
Compared to land lines, cell phones require little infrastructure and can be made available almost immediately.
Because of the absence of a central government, there is no bureaucracy to issue a license, or tax the industry. However traditional clans, make sure bills are paid and contracts honored.
No matter how dire the situation in Somalia, the entrepreneurial spirit lives on. By building small airstrips and using natural harbors businessmen are able to import cell phones, from faraway places like China.