Bosaso is a city in northern Somalia which serves as the nation’s main port. Situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden of Baalade Wadi, it is the commercial capital of the autonomous Puntland state of Somalia.
Bosaso was formerly known as Bandar Qassim. Very stable in comparison to the southern parts of Somalia, is a rapidly growing city. As with some Somali cities, the brisk construction it has enjoyed of late has largely been financed by Somalis from the diaspora. Bosaso has grown exponentially since the civil war, as it has attracted people from all over the country. Economically, it is actually doing better than it was prior to the war.
Bosaso was previously known as Bandar Qassim, a name derived from a Somali trader of the same name who is said to have first settled in the area during the 14th century. Qassim is also believed to correspond with a mythical figure by the name of Kaptanleh, who had a camel called Bosa or Boosaas. The town was thus first called Bandar Qassim after its founder (“Qassim’s town”), then later dubbed Bosaso after its founder’s trusted camel. This story is, however, purely speculative.
With the start of the Somali Civil War and the subsequent formation of Puntland in the mid-1990s, Bosaso has become the business capital of Puntland state of Somalia. In recent years, it has served as a refuelling station for maritime transport between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf ports, and has also become an important commercial point of entry. The city’s main port was constructed by the Siad Barre administration during the mid-1980s along with a two-lane highway for annual livestock shipments to the Middle East. The Population of Bosaso is estimated around 500,000 to 700,000 people and around 100,000 more internally displaced people living in and around the city.
Bosaso is a city that is booming and is experiencing a period of rapid growth. Prior to the civil war, it had a population of under 50,000 inhabitants. Since the conflict, Somalis belonging to the Harti Darod sub-clans began migrating back to their ancestral areas of Puntland. As a consequence of these migrations, Bosaso’s population grew tenfold.
Due to the dramatic increase in the city’s population, the local housing industry has become increasingly important. Despite the rapid growth, the fishing industry still remains one of Bosaso’s main sources of income.
Bosaso is also home to Golis Telecommunication company the largest telecommunications operator in Somalia. Founded in 2002 with the objective of supplying the country with GSM mobile services, fixed lines and internet services, it has an extensive network that covers all of the nation’s major cities and more than 40 districts in both Puntland and Somaliland. According to The Economist newspaper, Golis offers one of the cheapest international calling rates on the planet, at $0.2 USD less than anywhere else in the world.