The Somalia Annual Business Awards took place on Friday January 10, with 90 companies taking part in the competition.
Commerce and Industry minister Mohamed Maareey, who graced the ceremony at the Jaazera Palace Hotel in Mogadishu, said the initiative would go a long way in boosting investor confidence in the economy which has been ravaged by war.
According to the chief judge of the awards, Sultan Omri, the annual awards give companies an opportunities to identify their hidden potentials by putting up sound business structures and benchmarking with leading industry players globally.
“There are a lot of hidden potential in the Somalia business sector. We have to wake up and build, we must show that we want to be the best. So far some of the parameters we used to access the companies have pushed some of the participants to change the way they are doing business,” he said.
Mr Omri said companies were judged based on overall leadership, technology, human resources practices and corporate social responsibility.
“Since we commenced the awards three years ago we have noticed that some companies embarked on internal reforms of their processes, hiring experts to streamline their operations to enhance efficiency”, said Mr Omri.
Somalia business community has for a long time operating with proper structures due to lack of manpower and stability.
In the recent past, investor confidence in Mogadishu has seen the return of international airlines such as Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and Qatar Airways.
The city buildings, once riddled by bullet holes have now been replaced by high-rise office and residential building.
The construction of an 18-floor building, which is set to be the tallest in the capital, has also commenced.
International Shipping Company MAERSK also commenced operations in the Mogadishu port in conjunction with the Somalia-based Banadir Logistics.
The awards an initiative of the Mogadishu based Somalia Investor Magazine consortium aims to award best business practices and individual managers who perform exceptionally, with the aim of sharing best practices, increasing competitive and nurturing leadership.
Number of firms
During this year’s ceremony, Hass Petroleum Somalia emerged the best overall company while Banadir Logistics’ Mohamed Ahmed was voted the CEO of the year. Sagal Travel and Tours emerged the best in the youth SME category.
Started in 2017, the awards have over the years seen an increase in the number of firms and individuals increase from 30 to 60 last year, with t the hope that the next edition will Africa more entries.
According to the organisers, the Somalia Investor Consortium, the awards are also part of an initiative to change the narrative that Somalia is not a good place to do business due to hostility and lack of manpower by highlighting, through the media the robust business environment that the relative political stability has ushered in.