After the President of Somaliland Ahmed Mohamed Siilanyo official invitation from the Ruler of Dubai, UAE. The government of Somaliland engaged in a direct business negotiation with Dubai Ports (DP World).
On Sep 2016, Somaliland government signed an agreement with DP World, which is authorizing the latter to manage and develop the commercial port of Berbera for thirty years. The $440 million deal include expansion of the port and other infrastructure development including highway linking Berbera Port to border with Ethiopia (Tog-Wajale town). The deal sets up a joint venture with 6 percent control together with the government of Somaliland.
This comes after Somaliland showed a political stability and maturity with multi-party democracy striving in a region dominated by civil war and dictatorship. In addition to traditional trade link between the people of Somaliland and Arabian Gulf states.
Undoubtedly, the deal will create jobs and improve the living standard of the people of Somaliland and the region. This will give the landlocked Ethiopia a reliable access to sea, where Somaliland is trusted friend unlike other regional ports. The deal received the support of the elected parliament of Somaliland and it was a hit on the face of those want to hijack the people on poverty and unemployment.
The process of transforming Berbera in to east Africa’s main free trade hub like the UAE’s Jabel Ali Port. The DP World expansion project in Berbera will lead to extensive trade activities, in which Somaliland will control region’s business and trade. Berbera Port will be ready to provide service in helping Ethiopia and South Sudan exporting their natural resources like natural gas and oil.
Today’s world, business interest is the strongest diplomacy where the world will have no option but to recognize Somaliland, as latter will be regional economy power. In other hand, Ethiopia will have loyal friend, Somaliland, who can provide reliable services with seaport access.
In addition to development of Berbera Port, the deal won the Arab world interest in Somaliland on the grounds of ‘an exchange of interest’. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Somaliland received an official invitation from its Egyptian counterpart, where the Somaliland delegation were received with full head-of-state diplomatic reception. The Somaliland Foreign Minister Dr. Saad Ali Shire met with his Egyptian counterpart, and Somaliland Minister of Higher Education met his counterpart during the visit.
Assistant Foreign Minister for African Affairs of Egypt Mohamed Idris expressed the importance of the Somaliland-Egypt relations. Mr. Idris led Egyptian delegation to Hargiesa, capital of Somaliland, in order to solidify the relations. Such Egyptian interest in Somaliland is first of its kind, which showcases a major change in the political attitude towards Somaliland. The below link is about the reports on the latest Egyptian visit to Somaliland: http://onaeg.com/?p=2557762 and http://www.sis.gov.eg/Story/105690?lang=en-us .
Another remarkable event was the consecutive visits of Somaliland presidents to Kuwait who met the Amir of Kuwait His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed. The State of Kuwait sponsored projects in Somaliland including construction of Berbera Airport Terminal and development of Egal International Airport. The UAE based airline, flydubai, started its direct flight to Hargiesa, and signed an agreement with Ministry of Civil Aviation of Somaliland.
The below links represent the international response to the agreement between Republic of Somaliland and DP World: