MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
Years of instability and no formal banks have
turned Somalia into a cashless society where mobile money is
prevalent, but Somali innovators are now finding their way into
the global e-commerce economy.
With well over 155
million mobile phone transactions amounting to 2.7 billion U.S.
dollars a month, Somali traders are venturing into e-commerce to
exploit the range of opportunities as consumption levels spike.
Soomar is an online
shopping platform operating in Mogadishu.
The outlet, which
utilizes both mobile and web applications, is one of the leading
online shopping ventures in the Somali capital providing clients
with a whole new shopping experience.
Executive Officer Mohamed Mohamud told Xinhua on Saturday the
business is now giving many people the option of purchasing
international online platforms that only accept credit and debit
cards, Soomar provides a home-grown solution—mobile money.
“We accept local
money transfer options such as EVC, and ZAAD as main payment
systems. We also have application programming interface (API)
integration with Salaam Bank,” Mohamud said, referring to a
local bank that also provide e-services.
In its latest
economic assessment report, the World Bank said mobile money
transfers in Somalia have surpassed local currency use, with 2.7
billion dollars moving through mobile money networks every
The global lender
also noted the uptake of mobile money use was at 75 percent as
more Somalis embrace mobile and internet use.
Despite lack of home
address systems in the country, Soomar is still able to deliver
items to its clients.
“We use motorbikes
and vans for delivery,” said Mohamud. “The duration between
purchase and delivery is dependent on the location of the
“Our operation is
divided into modules with offices and stores in main cities such
as Mogadishu and Hargeisa,” he said, adding that the average
time between purchase and delivery is around three hours.
In addition to the
lack of home addresses, poor roads in Mogadishu is also a
challenge for Soomar to deliver goods to its customers.
Hussein, who just concluded his master’s degree in medicine and
has been in China for nine years, said Soomar’s services have
made his life easy.
“With the app
installed in my phone, I am able to access almost everything,”
Hussein told Xinhua.
“I first learnt
about Soomar when I saw a friend with a very nice t-shirt; he
told me he bought it online through Soomar,” he said.
Soomar, with monthly
sales at 20,000 dollars and 25,000 dollars, employ 40 permanent
staff members, in addition to part-time workers, Mohamud said.
Most of the items
Soomar sells are electronics and home supplies, but the firm is
now diversifying to include doctor’s appointments, flight
booking, internet and cable recharge, he said.
To ensure sound
service for current and potential customers, Mohamed said,
Soomar provides regularly updated user guidelines to build
customer confidence, as more and more people opt to embrace new
conference to strengthen internet industry
MOGADISHU Somalia (Xinhua) --
The Somali government on Saturday started
a two-day conference of network operators as part of efforts to
strengthen the internet industry.
The Somali Network
Operators Group (SomNOG) conference brought together internet
engineers, networking experts, internet business leaders,
academia, and other interested parties from across the Horn of
Communication Authority (NCA) General Manager Abdi Sheikh Ahmed,
who opened the conference, said the industry regulator will
support the initiatives by SomNOG to provide a platform where IT
professionals can develop their competencies related to internet
“In the State of
Broadband 2018 released recently, Somalia is among the least
connected countries in the world,” Ahmed said “We need to
collectively address this challenge to make sure internet access
is improved in Somalia as a matter of priority.”
theme was “Strengthening the Somali Internet Industry as a key
The meeting is
expected to discuss issues like promoting the establishment of
internet exchange point; adoption of IPV6; promotion of
resources sharing; and internet governance and regulations.
Ahmed Siyad said the conference is an annual multi-stakeholder
event consisting of workshops, conferences and networking for
the internet community in Somalia.