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Upgrading and Extension of Major Urban Roads and Establishment of a Lorry Terminal in Bossaso Town Puntland Region, Northeast Somalia
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Project description

Bossaso is the major port of Northern Somalia, and the largest town and business capital of the northeastern Puntland Region. Its port is an important point of entry for maritime transport to and from the Middle East and the region’s major hub for business and commerce. Bossaso’s importance has grown exponentially in terms of economic activities, population numbers and (mainly commercial) traffic: based on past records, it is estimated that Bossaso’s urban population increased from a mere 20,000 to over 120,000 within a period of 25 years. This expansive, but largely uncontrolled urban growth has resulted in high congestion of the town’s narrow and underdeveloped road-network, and an overall deterioration of living conditions for its residents. The project proposal is a package that consists of 4 infrastructure intervention components towards improved urban transport, accessibility, living conditions and business opportunities. These four identified sub-projects can be funded and implemented either jointly or separately. Each component is a key intervention that aims to address Bossaso’s fast growing need for urban and traffic management through the upgrade and rehabilitation of major roads that represent the town’s economic veins. The goal of the intervention package is to achieve a drastic improvement in the quality of living and economic flows for Bossaso residents and its business community, through the upgrading of urban roads and transport-related infrastructure.
Location: City of Bossaso, Puntland State of Somalia, North-eastern Somalia
- Regional Office for Arab States
Partner: Municipality of Bossaso, Ministry of Public Works (MoPW) / Ministry of Interior (MoI)
- Water Sanitation and Infrastructure
Budget: USD 1,356,235

Focus Area(s)

- FA2: Promotion of participatory urban planning, management and governance
- FA3: Promote pro-poor land and housing
- FA4: Environmentally sound basic urban infrastructure and services


Bossaso, strategically well located on the Gulf of Aden in Northern Somalia, is the fourth largest city in Somalia and the most important centre on the Puntland coast. The State of Puntland enjoyed relative political stability and autonomy from south central parts of Somalia which has attracted many immigrants and commercial activity. Due to the political instability of the south-central parts of Somalia, the port of Bossaso has won more importance and has become the second busiest port in Somalia. It serves as a refueling station for maritime transport such as the annual livestock shipments to the Middle East and has become a hub for emigrants across the Gulf of Aden to settle in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and the other Persian Gulf states. Due to its port and the recently upgraded and extended airport, Bossaso has become the main commercial point of entry and the administrative and business capital of the northeastern regions of Somalia. The result of Bossaso’s growing importance as a coastal center was an extremely rapid and unplanned growth of build-up areas, population and traffic. The city has grown exponentially since the civil war and has become a melting pot with a high influx of people due to displacement from conflict and draught affected urban migration with an estimated population of 250,000-400,000 inhabitants, including a fast growing number of 100,000 displaced people from war-zones in the south. Economically, the town is doing better than prior to the war, but the propelling construction has largely been financed by Somalis from the Diaspora. In this course the unplanned urban expansion is disturbing, as the land consumption sprawled out with a growth rate of 150% in only 7 years.

Today, Bossaso is one of the fastest growing cities in Somalia with constantly deteriorating urban conditions due to the lack of institutional, financial and human capacity to manage the urban expansion and provide services on the one hand, and the total absence of control mechanisms over land on the other. Despite the current boom in urban growth and commercial activity, the city has still only one main tarmac road - constructed by the Siad Barre administration during the mid-1980s - that connects the city and its port to the south of the country. The port-area, Bossaso’s most important asset, is seriously deteriorating due to an increasing number of trucks, which transport goods from the port and in & out of town, an overall increase of cars and trucks and the total absence of traffic management, parking or loading and offloading options for the heavy vehicles. The port area, the main tarmac road and other major roads are overwhelmingly exhausted by congestion through the increased traffic and blocked by parking trucks. They are in poor condition with no pavement and pot-holes and irregular road-widths. The access to and from the port and to all businesses in town is chaotic and not functional, characterized by a confusing system of narrow alleys filled with informal structures and with no sufficient and clear access from the main tarmac road. This situation will potentially result in a downturn of the town’s functional capacity to facilitate the growing exchange rates in goods and transport needs. Congested roads negatively affect the commercial activity inside the whole town. To address this growing problem is crucial for the towns overall development.


  • Lorry Terminal: A long-lasting solution that was requested and proposed by the local administration is to establish a parking/loading- and offloading facility as a terminal for trucks to manage traffic in and out of the port. UN-HABITAT supports this initiative strongly and proposes also the implementation of a connection road from the terminal to the port-area clearly defining the access to and from the port. Potential locations for the terminal are being analyzed and further agreed on in a consultation process with all stakeholders.
  • Implementation of Bypass Road: The proper implementation and completion of the eastern bypass road to divert heavy traffic going to the port away from the city center’s main road. The municipality has already started the implementation of the bypass road as proposed in the strategic urban plan by UN-HABITAT from 2006 by leveling the surface. Still, the road has no connection to the port and cannot be used. It needs to be completed through adequate surfacing: leveling and further asphalting / road sealing for heavy vehicle standards.
  • Rehabilitation of Main Road: The rehabilitation of central parts of the main tarmac road as the town’s most important road through redistribution of road space for car traffic, parking, delivery, pedestrians and commerce within the available road reserve. The measures will be paving with local stones, placement of concrete elements and tree planting for the separation of the pedestrian area, parking and shop-delivery areas.  Further basic drainage measures have to be implemented.
  • Road Upgrade of two Major Roads: Based on the same scheme as intervention C., the central areas of two other major roads connecting to the main road (1. Road from Port to the Airport and 2. Netco Road) are in dare need for an upgrade. Those 2 roads build the backbone of the town’s road-network and need to be urgently decongested through major measures: leveling, asphalting/road sealing, paving of pedestrian walkways and parking space allocation, drainage measures and tree planting.

Target group

Resident of Northeast Somalia


If you may be interested in funding this project, please contact us: info.rmu@unhabitat.org
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