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Clockwise from Top left: Al-rowda Mosque, Bosaso Financial center, Bosaso Government Building, Gaceyte hotel, and view of downtown Bosaso.
Country  Somalia
Regional State  Puntland
Region Bari
District Bosaso
Founded 14th century
 • Type Metropolitan Administration
 • Mayor Yasin Mire Mohamud
 • Total 30 km2 (10 sq mi)
Elevation 15 m (49 ft)
Population (2005)
 • Total 164,906
 • Density 5,500/km2 (14,000/sq mi)
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)
Climate BWh

Bosaso (Somali: Boosaaso, Arabic: بوصاصو‎‎', formerly known as Bandar Qasim) is a city in Somalia, and the most populous city in the state of Puntland. Bosaso, according to an estimate made in 2005, had a population of around 164,906 residents, and it is the seat of Bosaso District in the Bari Administrative Region.[1] First settled in the 14th century, it is among the oldest cities in Somalia. It currently serves as the nation's main seaport.[2]

The city has a diverse economy based on education, government, banking, tourism, aviation, food, clothes, logistics, steel, energy, health care, hospitality, retail, and technology. The area's many colleges and universities make Bosaso a regional center of higher education, including law, medicine, engineering, and business. The city is considered to be the country's leader in entrepreneurship.[2]


Ancient Greek merchants sailed to Bosaso, providing notes about the strategic and geographical location of the current Bosaso area, which was known as Mosylon in ancient times.[3]

Downtown Bosaso in 2004.

Bosaso was previously known as Bandar Qasim, a name derived from A Somali trader of the same name.[4] It is believed that Qasim's favourite camel was called Boosaas, from which derived the current name of the town.[citation needed] The town was thus first called Bandar Qassim after its founder ("Qasim's town"), then later dubbed Bosaso after its founder's trusted camel. however, purely and Historically, Bosaso has been Dishiishe stronghold, last two decades the town has been receiving various clans who mostly are Darood specially the big tribes of Harti-Darood[5]

Near Bosaso, at the end of the Baladi valley, lies a 2 km to 3 km long earthwork.[6][7] Local tradition recounts that the massive embankment marks the grave of a community matriarch. It is the largest such structure in the wider Horn region. The town would eventually be administered through the official Bari region in the post-independence period.

With the start of the Somali Civil War and the subsequent formation of Puntland in the 1990s, Bosaso has become the business capital of the northeastern regions of Somalia also all Somali people who resorted to reach there. In recent years, it has served as a refueling station for maritime transport between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf ports, and has also become an important commercial point of entry.


Location and habitat

Bosaso is situated in northeastern Somalia, on the Gulf of Aden coast. Nearby settlements include to the east Rehiss (2.0 nm), to the northeast Mareroo (7.5 nm), to the west Baalade Valley (1.9 nm), to the southwest Baalade valley (8.8 nm), and to the southeast Dureera. (19.5 nm).[8] The largest cities in the country most proximate to Bosaso are Erigavo (212 km), Burao (442 km), and Berbera (465 km). Shimbiris, the highest peak in Somalia, is located some 220 km to the southwest in the Cal Madow mountain range.[9]

In June 2014, the Puntland government launched a new tree-planting campaign in the state, with the regional Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism slated to plant 25,000 trees by the end of the year. Bosaso is among the seven cities and towns earmarked for the reforestation initiative, which also include Garowe, Qardho, Dhahar, Buuhoodle, Baran and Galkayo. The campaign is part of a broader partnership between the Puntland authorities and EU to set up various environmental protection measures in the region, with the aim of promoting reforestation and afforestation.[10]


Bosaso has a hot desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWh). It has a mean annual relative humidity of around 60%. The average daily mean temperature year-round is 30 °C, with an average annual high of 35 °C and an average annual low of 25 °C. Average low temperatures are coolest during the winter months of December to February, when thermometer readings typically level out at 20 °C. The weather slowly heats up in the spring, as the April rainy season begins. Average high temperatures later peak during the summer months of June to August, when they consistently exceed 40 °C (104 °F). Come September, cooler weather starts to set in again. Rainfall reaches a high over this period, with an average precipitation of 7 mm (0.28 inches) in November. Total rainfall year-round is around 19 mm (0.76 inches).[11]

Climate data for Bosaso
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 38.5
Average high °C (°F) 29.0
Daily mean °C (°F) 25.0
Average low °C (°F) 20.6
Record low °C (°F) 12.5
Average rainfall mm (inches) 0
Average relative humidity (%) 66 68 64 64 62 48 40 48 56 70 74 71 61
Percent possible sunshine 80 80 87 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 80 81
Source #1: Arab Meteorology Book[11]
Source #2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (extremes),[12] Food and Agriculture Organization: Somalia Water and Land Management (percent sunshine)[13]


Bosaso's total population is estimated at about 164,906 residents in 2005.[1] An additional 50,000 registered internally displaced people primarily from conflict-stricken parts of southern Somalia have also sought refuge in camps on the outskirts of the city.[14]

Furthermore, Bosaso is a major port for boats carrying emigrants from within the country as well as adjacent territories across the Gulf of Aden to settle (sometimes illegally) in the Persian Gulf states.[15]

While Bosaso today is a melting pot, with residents hailing from many different parts of Somalia in addition to some neighboring Northeast African countries, most of the city's population is from the Harti confederation of Darod sub-clans. Bosaso also has a significant number of Meheri Arabs, known as Arab Salah.[16][17]


Bosaso city affairs are managed by the Bosaso Municipality. Its leadership is appointed by members of the area's 29 District Councils. The municipal authority is currently led by Mayor Yasiin Mire Mohamud, who was unanimously elected to office by council officials in 2015 [18]


Bosaso is a city that is experiencing a period of rapid growth. Prior to the Somali civil war, it had a population of under 200,000 inhabitants. Since the conflict, Somalis belonging to the Harti Darod sub-clans began migrating back to their ancestral areas of Puntland.[19] As a consequence of these migrations, Bosaso's population and the local housing industry have grown tremendously.

An Amal Bank branch in Bosaso.

In December 2011, a new commercial market opened in Bosaso's northern Dayaha ("Star") neighborhood, near the port. Approximately half a kilometer in size, it was designed to ensure easy vehicle access. The market is the result of careful planning between Puntland government officials and civil society representatives.[20] In September 2013, Puntland Minister of Fisheries Mohamed Farah Adan also announced that the Ministry in conjunction with the FAO would open a new fish market in the city, complete with modern refrigators.[21]

Bosaso is home to Golis Telecom Somalia, the largest telecommunications operator in northeastern Somalia. Founded in 2002 with the objective of supplying the country with GSM mobile services, fixed line 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.[22] According to The Economist, Golis offers one of the cheapest international calling rates on the planet, at $0.2 USD less than anywhere else in the world.[23] In addition, Netco has its headquarters in the city. Other telecommunication firms serving the region include Telcom and NationLink. Commercial banks serving Bosaso include Amal Bank and Salaam Bank. Salaam Bank provides personal banking and corporate banking. Its Islamic banking services and facilities include Mudarabah, Murabaha, Musharakah and Istisnaa. Additionally, the bank offers electronic banking, SMS banking, mobile banking and internet debit.[24] In August 2011, the bank also launched an independent (Kaaftoon) service partnering the institution with Golis Telecom Somalia.[25] Other banks which are operating in the city are Banks like Dahabshil Bank and Hawala,Iftin Bank and Hawala. These banks provide both commercial and retailing services to the Communities and business. The service and facilities which these banks offering are based on Islamic Bank system. For Financing these banks apply Islamic law ( Shari ah) principles such as Mudarabah, Murabaha, Musharakah and Istisnaa. Furthermore, these banks offer mobile banking services and electronic money transfers.


The Bender Qassim International Airport in 2007, prior to renovations.

Bosaso is traversed by a 750 km north–south highway. It connects major cities in the northern part of the country, such as Galkayo and Garowe, with towns in the south.[26] In June 2012, the Puntland Highway Authority (PHA) launched an upgrade and repair project on the large thoroughfare between Bosaso and Garowe.[27] The transportation body also began rehabilitation work in October 2012 on the central artery linking the city with Qardho.[28] Additionally, plans are in the works to construct new roads connecting littoral towns in the region to the main highway.[27] In June 2014, Puntland President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali along with Bosaso Mayor Hassan Abdallah Hassan and other state officials also inaugurated a new 5.9 km paved road in the city. The construction project leads to the Bosaso seaport, and was completed in conjunction with UNHABITAT. According to Ali, his administration plans to invest at least 23 million Euros in contributions from international partners in similar road infrastructure development initiatives.[29]

The city has a major seaport, the Port of Bosaso. It was constructed during the mid-1980s by the Siad Barre administration for annual livestock shipments to the Middle East. In January 2012, a renovation project was launched, with KMC contracted to upgrade the Bosaso Port's harbor. The initiative's first phase saw the clean-up of unwanted materials from the dockyard and was completed within the month. The second phase involves the reconstruction of the port's adjoining seabed, with the objective of accommodating larger ships.[30]

Besides its busy seaport, Bosaso has a major airport, the Bender Qassim International Airport. In 2008, the Puntland government signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Dubai's Lootah Group, a regional industrial group operating in the Middle East and Africa. According to the agreement, the first phase of the investment is worth Dhs 170m ($46.28m) and will see a set of new companies established to operate, manage and build Bosaso's free trade zone and sea and airport facilities. The Bosaso Airport Company is slated to develop the airport complex to meet international standards, including a new 3.4 km runway, main and auxiliary buildings, taxi and apron areas, and security perimeters.[31] In December 2014, the foundation stone for a new runway was also laid at the airport. The China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation is now slated to upgrade the airport's existing gravel runway, pave it with asphalt, and convert it from 1.8 km to 2.65 km in accordance with the code 4C operations clause.[32]


Entrance to East Africa University's Bosaso campus.

Bosaso has a number of academic institutions. According to the Puntland Ministry of Education, there are 74 primary schools in the Bosaso District. Among these are the Iftin School, Alfurqan, Umul-Qura and Garisa.[33] Bosaso is home to one of the most well known secondary schools in the whole of Somalia. Bosaso Public Secondary School was built during the 50's by the then stable government, till now it remains one of the most historic landmarks in Somalia. Other secondary schools in the area include Hamdan, Najah, Haji Yasin and Shafi'i.[34]

Tertiary education is provided by Bosaso College (BC),[35] as well as the Puntland Nursing Institute (PNI). East Africa University (EAU) also has a Bosaso branch, one of its seven campuses in Puntland.[36] Additionally, the Sam Greathouse School of Modern Technology (SG-SMT) has been working with the local government to construct a large scale dial-up network linking Bosaso to other northern Somali cities, including Berbera and Las Anod.


Bosaso panorama at dusk


Bosaso is home to a number of private media outlets. Radio Daljir, Puntland's largest radio station, has its main headquarters in the city. The broadcaster's network of 7 FM transmitters reaches most of Puntland as well as part of the neighboring Galmudug region to the south. Also centered in Bosaso with its studios in Garowe is the Somali Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), Puntland's oldest and second largest private radio station. Additionally, Horseed Radio, Al Xigma, and One Nation Radio have headquarters in the city.[37] In May 2013, Radio Garowe likewise launched a new FM station in Bosaso.[38]

The city also has its own private television channels and studios, the Eastern Television Network (ETN TV) and SBC TV.[37]


The International Village hotel in Bosaso.

Bosaso has white sandy beaches and clear sea water with a reef. Popular activities in the city include visiting internet cafés and coffee shops.

Additionally, there are many hotels that offer accommodation. Among the most prominent are the Hotel Huruuse, the Tropical, and the Hotel Juba.[39] The International Village hotel is especially noted for its domesticated ostriches.

The outskirts of Bosaso feature mountains, lakes and grasslands, with wildlife and trees. A panoramic view of the city's skyline can also be observed.


Bosaso is subdivided into sixteen administrative Villages each is nominated by Mayor. Rehiss Village is recognized as oldest village in the city.[2]

Sister cities

See also


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  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Bosaso Municipality - Districts". Bosaso Municipality. Archived from the original on 2 February 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
  4. Dr.Farah, O., et al. "Somalia Exploring a Way Out". National Civic Forum (2011) page 23.
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External links