On 11th November, DMA hosted their first engagement with the government of Somaliland since 2014, in partnership with Guul Group.

This marked DMA’s 120th event, with over 200 registrants and four cabinet ministers. Opened by Stuart Brown, Head of the British Office in Hargeisa, and HE Abdi Hersi, Head of the Somaliland Mission in the UK, the event featured Lord Sheikh and the Minister for Investment Promotion, Hon. Mohamed Ahmed Mohamoud (Awad).

Drawing on his experience in Africa, and East Africa, Lord Sheikh discussed the strength of the relationship between the UK and Somaliland, the potential for Islamic Finance, sustainable investments and the development of Berbera Port as a catalyst for growth. The Minister of Investment Promotion echoed this, outlining key opportunities in agriculture, fisheries, energy, financial services and production, for the benefit of investors, the people of Somaliland and the environment.

The first panel was going to have been chaired by Sir Henry Bellingham, but due to some connectivity issues within the UK, Katie McCoshan stepped in and steered an excellent content-rich first session for the event.

The panel explored Somaliland’s trade and investment potential, as a vibrant and attractive market for FDI. Dr Saad Ali Shire, Minister of Finance, discussed Somaliland’s growth rates and took a deep dive into the government’s priority sectors, emphasising Somaliland’s potential to be a gateway, not just into the country but into the wider region. Damon Bristow, FCDO, and Phillip Corper, SOGEEL, gave an insight into the work of the UK government and USAID in supporting businesses in this market. Hon. Hinda Jama Hersi Gaani, Minister of Employment and Family Affairs, highlighted the government’s commitment to investors, employment laws and the quality of human capital in Somaliland.

As the biggest private sector investor in Somaliland, the Spotlight on Berbera Port showcased DP World’s impressive $442m investment into the country and their future plans. Their long-term mindset is reflected in their focus on sustainability, local education and training.

GUUL Group announced their GUUL Grown investment platform, which is a one-stop-shop for anything trade and investment related  in Somaliland, and their ambition to facilitate $100m into the country. It has been an absolute pleasure working with Guled, Chief Executive of Guul Group.

The second panel was expertly chaired by Lauren McEvatt, an Advisory Board member for DMA. A particular highlight was Dr. Edna Adan Ismail, who as a former Finance Minister, gave a passionate list of reasons why Somaliland should be the first choice for any business.

The Minister of Mining and Energy highlighted the potential in the energy sector, and the Minister of Finance spoke in more detail on the services provided by the Ministry to support investors. Angus Miller, emphasised the work of the FCDO in Somaliland and the importance of developing soft infrastructure, alongside hard infrastructure developments, such as the Berbera Port. Michel Botzung concluded the session with a brilliant presentation on why Somaliland is a jewel in the region and the importance of working together.

The Q&A session featured the Minister of Finance. There was only time to answer a selection of the audience’s questions, covering Somalialnd’s sovereignty, the blue economy, Islamic finance and the Berbera Port.

Many thanks to all of our speakers, supporters, our media partner the Somaliland Sun, and of course our sponsors: DP World, the Ambassador Hotel and Rio Architects.

Source: Developing Markets Associates

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