Somaliland President Muse Bihi has expressed his country’s excitement over the fast expansion of the Port of Berbera which is expected to be completed before the end of the year.

The president while inspecting the infrastructural developments at the port said once complete it will place the country on the international map, create jobs for the country’s youth and bring in the much-required foreign investment and exchange.

The Port is being expanded by the DP World who have invested US Dollars 442 million to turn it around to an international class.

President Bihi said the country is looking forward to the full completion of the port expansion while appreciating the role the United Arab Emirates has played in placing Berbera and Somaliland on the international map.

“The development of the Port by the UAE has offered a unique window of opportunity for Somaliland to compete for Foreign Direct Investment,” said Bihi.

He added: “The investment from UAE in Berbera has already shone the limelight on immense potential Somaliland will play in the international fora.

Somaliland’s role in the region is changing and the world powers are realizing our potential thanks to the growth of Berbera and the peace and democracy we enjoy as a country.”

DP World, the Dubai-based world’s largest port operator is the key player in the rebuilding of Berbera and the economic free zone.

In 2017 when the original agreement was signed, the CEO of DP World Mr. Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem drew a parallel between the growth of Dubai and the development path Somaliland is on and added “Our vision is to make Berbera a trading and transportation hub for the Horn of Africa.”

Berbera port is among the few corridors in the Horn of African region, which can serve for both military and commercial purposes.

The Berbera Port was built in 1964 by the Soviet Union and further expanded by the United States of America (USA) in 1982. It has served for both the Soviet Union and the U.S military within a span of 20 years.

The Berbera Port expansion is the largest investment in Somaliland since it parted ways with Somalia in 1991.

Work on the port expansion has reduced due to the measures put in place in the fight against the spread of the deadly coronavirus but the Somaliland government and the DP World have projected all facilities will be ready for operation by mid this year.

“We are very much on course. Of course, the coronavirus has affected the speed at which we were on, but we will soldier on and deliver the most modern port facility in Berbera,” an official of the DP World said.

The Berbera port expansion is designed to equip the Somaliland port for major vessels and transform it into one of Africa’s pre-eminent facilities.

DP World firm will also create an economic free zone in the surrounding area, targeting a range of companies in sectors from logistics to manufacturing, and a $100m road-based economic corridor connecting Berbera with Wajaale in Ethiopia

“Our aim is to make this an important regional hub for the maritime industry in the Horn of Africa,” DP World chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sultan bin Sulayem said.

By Godfrey Ivudria

Busiweek

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