For many Somalis the year 2012 will go into the history books as the year when Somalia elected its first democratic president in 43 years.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected by lawmakers, becoming the first new leader to be chosen inside the country since 1991. He defeated former transitional president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, putting an end to his eight years of interim rule.
During the past year, Somalia has witnessed many important events the like approval of a new constitution, selection of a new 274 seat member parliament and choosing a new prime minister.
However, despite these great changes, security remains the biggest challenge of the country. Just two days after electing the new president, two bombs hit a hotel in which he was residing. The al-Shabaab fighters claimed responsibility for the attack.
The political progress in Somalia inspired confidence in the international community and high level delegations visited Somalia in hopes of reviving ties with the Horn of African nation. Countries like Iran reopened their embassy in Mogadishu, paving the way for many other countries to name their envoys to Somalia.
The streets are also laying the grounds for better business, with the start of the street lighting program. New hope and confidence has been risen among the business community who now operate even during nights.
Mogadishu has also removed illegal road blocks, to improve the sense of security among traders and business owners.
With the booming reconstruction in Mogadishu, the past year also saw the largest number of Somalis from Diaspora return back home. With a record high turnout of youths and Diaspora in the country’s famous beaches, luxurious hotels and beach resorts were also built.
New universities, launch of new technologies like the third generation internet service which is the first of its kind in south and central Somalia are all examples of advancements made in the country during 2012.
As Somalis usher in the New Year, many here hope that an end to war will create a perfect environment and a return of more Somalis from refugee camps and abroad.