(ERGO) – Abdikadir Ali Sultan, 27, opened a shop in Mogadishu last year after returning from Europe.

“If I knew I could work in my country, I would not have wasted my time on illegal migration,” he told Radio Ergo.

Abdikadir spent $13,400 on his trip to Europe. He says now that it was a “big mistake.”

Luckily for him, his parents supported him again with $4,000 to open the shop, where he hires a young man at $150 per month as an assistant.  He has enrolled at Simad University for a course in public administration.

Abdikadir is now managing to support his family including paying primary school fees for three of his siblings.

It was 2009 when he left Mogadishu for Italy, passing through Ethiopia, Sudan and Libya before crossing the Mediterranean Sea.  After a year in Italy, he travelled to Norway, where he was refused entry. He was returned to Italy where he had first been fingerprinted on arrival.

“I expected to be granted asylum and get employment. I thought I would recover the money I had spent on the journey in just a few months. But I became a refugee living in a camp with no freedom.”

His aunt sent him money for an air ticket and he returned to Somalia in October 2015.

Many young people in Somalia embark on illegal journeys to Europe looking for jobs. Others are dissatisfied university graduates who already have a job but dream of much better.

Asma Abdirahman Mohamed, 24, studied nursing at Plasma University and works at a gym centre in Yaqshid earning $300 a month.  She told Radio Ergo she had saved $7,000 – half of what she was targeting before she set off for Europe.

“It’s easy to get a job in Europe because I know friends and family members who are there and got jobs very easily.  I am sure I will make more money there than what I’ll spend on the journey within three months of starting work,” she said confidently.

Abdi Aziz Ahmed Ibrahim, who teaches economics at the University of Somalia in Mogadishu, believes Somali youth need to think carefully about how and where they are investing their money. He urges those considering migrating to invest in small businesses at home to build the country.

“When the boat capsizes in the sea and 400 people who paid $10,000 each die, it is a double loss: one is the loss of life and the second is the loss of investment for the country,” he said.

This Article was originally published in the Radio Ergo

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