Last year, the arrival form in Somalia's war-shattered capital demanded visitors list the calibre of guns they were carrying. Today, signs in the airport warn of the health risks of smoking.
Small changes -- but Somalia, once a byword for war and anarchy, appears to be slowly turning a corner, with Islamist forces on the back foot despite launching a series of bloody guerilla attacks.
“There have been big changes, good changes,” said Abdullahi Nur, Mogadishu port manager, where container ships from India, Dubai and Turkey crowd the rehabilitated docks, offloading goods from construction materials to truck tyres and giant piles of freezers.
“Now we are even exporting camels from the port,” he added, the first time since Somalia descended into bloody civil war after the collapse of government in 1991.
In the past year, Somalia's Al-Qaeda linked Shebab insurgents have been driven from a string of key towns. Soon, a new U.N. mission composed of security, human rights, political and financial experts will arrive in the country to further hold off Islamist militants.
“Business is growing very quickly,” said Khadar Mohamed, manager of Icon Media, a company erecting the billboard posters that now crowd the streets of this battered city -- rebuilding after the Shebab pulled out of fixed positions in August 2011.
Now adverts for banks, telephones and car companies are displayed around Mogadishu.
In the city's economic heart, the bustling Bakara market -- where a US helicopter was shot down in 1993, scenes made famous by the Hollywood film “Black Hawk Down” -- the scars of frontline fighting that raged less than two years ago have faded.
But while licks of paint have in many places transformed the image of the capital, major challenges remain.
Last month, the Shebab launched a show of force in a complex coordinated attack, killing at least 34 as suicide commandos stormed the main courthouse while a car bomb was set off elsewhere in Mogadishu.
While riven by infighting and hunted by U.S. drones, the extremists remain a potent threat, launching car bombs and assassinations, and are still powerful in rural areas as well as reportedly infiltrating the security forces.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر