Lying two years dormant, a project the Gulf Emirate of Qatar magnanimously gave the Federal Government of Somalia re-surfaced today in Mogadishu with the Prime Minister unveiling the plaque of its commencement.
Somalia PM Hassan Ali Khaire inaugurates two multimillion dollar road construction projects funded by Qatar. A Turkish company reportedly won the contract to implement the two projects which involve rehabilitating the two main roads linking Mogadishu to Jowhar and Afgoye towns. pic.twitter.com/QovQnJcq6z
— Harun Maruf (@HarunMaruf) February 18, 2019
On 28 November 2017, Khalifa Bin Jassim of the Qatari Development Fund and the Somalia Minister for Planning, signed a 200-million USD project to rehabilitate and re-build two life-line projects that connect the FGS capital, Mogadishu to the states of HirShabelle and the Southwest.
Development projects, including those of the roads, were later, on 13 December, formally inked to put them on the implementation road.
Minister Jamal Mohamed Hassan expressed his delight at the ‘honor’ at the time on Twitter.
Waxa aan maanta goobjoog ka noqonay, aniga iyo dhiggayga Qatar @ANK_AlThani saxiixa heshiisyo & is-fahanno maalgelin, ganacsi iyo horumarineed oo labadeena dal wada galeen. Waxa ay waxbadan ka tarayaan horumarinta iyo kobcinta dhaqaalaha dalkeenna.#NabadIyoNolol pic.twitter.com/AccHHWVe6n
— SomaliPM (@SomaliPM) December 13, 2018
The Rehabilitation projects are, virtually, re-shoring and re-paving of eroded, old tarmac roads each around 30 kilometers on the Afgoi side and about 90 kms on the Jowhar side of the federal government seat.
Qatar bounced in on an opportunity to stamp its influence on the Horn of Africa country after the United Arab Emirates severed ties with it on June 5, 2017, following a series of mishaps that severely strained – and finally severed – the two countries’ relations.
An unnamed Turkish company has won the reconstruction of the roads – naturally.
This comes at a time that the UAE is becoming increasingly under justified criticism for not substantively delivering on agreements it had entered with the Republic of Somaliland on the development of the key Red Sea port of Berbera, and the construction of a road linking the port to the Somaliland-Ethiopia border town of Wajale.
Except for the construction of a military base given it at Berbera, the Emirates projected multi-million projects promised by the agreements have yet to materialize putting the Kulmiye government under enormous pressure from the opposition parties. Under the circumstances, the barrage of criticism from the parties – and the public – is undeniably justified.