A wide, dry river bed that cost Somaliland many a life over the years, and, especially during rainy seasons, was denied its scary vice-grip, Monday, following the inauguration of a bridge promising a safe escort of motorists and crossers in the foreseeable future.
The Da’ar Budhuq bridge, some fifty kilometers east of the capital, Hargeisa, is one of seven bridges the 250km Berbera Corridor will don at completion sometime later this year or early next year.
His Excellency the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi, flanked by the United Arab Emirates envoy to Somaliland, Ambassador Abdala A–Naqbi, cut the ribbon off the bridge – the longest at 105 meters among the planned.
“This river has muffed off the lives of hundreds of people among whom a good number who have left memorable marks in shaping up modern Somaliland of this day,” he said.
President Bihi underlined what the United Arab Emirates was synonymous with in the hearts of Somalilanders.
“The UAE stands out tall from the rest of the world in our hearts. It has come to stand by our side at a time other countries needed permission even to look sideways at us. The projects they have started are now acknowledged throughout the world, and especially, in these parts of the continent, as critical contributions to regional connectivity as well as a central bolt to its trade and social infrastructure,” President Bihi added.
“The inauguration of the strategic infrastructure project marks a qualitative leap in economic and social development in Somaliland. This is because the project will significantly facilitate import and export of food and agricultural products, in addition to supporting small and medium enterprises and connecting the local markets with the regional ones,” Mohamed Saif Al-Suwaidi, Director-General of ADFD
Minister for Transportation, Abdirizak Mohamed Ibrahim ‘Atash’, also speaking at the ceremony, underlined how the completion of the Da’ar Budhuq bridge would be the beginning of a huge transformation to geostrategic connections in the whole region.
“Together with the immense development that has turned Berbera port into a world-class trade hub and a pivotal Red Sea entry point, the road connecting it to the dry port of Tog Wajale complete with its bridges certainly constitutes game-changers in the regional socio-economic landscape,” Minister Abdirizak Atash said.
The 245km dual carriageway road and its bridges alone are estimated at US$111 on completion.
This, plus, the extensive, ongoing development activities the UAE-owned ports manager, DP World, is carrying out in Berbera bring the total cost of these two projects alone to half a billion US Dollars,
DP World, additionally, signed a billion-dollar logistics and infrastructure project with Ethiopia to turn the Corridor into a dependable trade route that would serve the whole continent given the geo-strategic location and capability of Berbera port.
At the groundbreaking ceremony on 1st March 2019, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Somaliland, flanked by the Somali State of Ethiopia President, Mustafa Mohamed Omar, and high officials representing the UAE Development Fund bankrolling construction, hoped that the project will bring the whole region closer both commercially and spatially.
“The Berbera Corridor project symbolizes the greater cooperation between Somali-run states as it does with Federal Ethiopia not only on an economic level but also, most importantly on the security, political and social integration angles,” the president said at the time.
A 25 million UK Pound 22.5 kilometers of the road will be a bypass skirting the capital from the north will address a chokepoint on the Corridor diverting heavy traffic from an already congested city center. This part is to be completed thanks to the United Kingdom’s development fund.
The Berbera Port and Berbera Corridor projects started during the reign of the former Kulmiye government of President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud ‘Siilaanyo’ with President Bihi’s putting fine touches to the MOUs reached earlier.