THE Somaliland government has rejected Somalia’s right to block a deal to allow Dubai’s DP World to make a $440 million investment to help develop Berbera Port.
The row came about when the Somaliland government allowed Ethiopia a stake in the Berbera investment consortium. Afterwards, the Somalian parliament voted to ban the UAE from investing in Somalia. The issue has become a test case for Somaliland independence.
A report in Somaliland Press said: “The DP World’s investment in Somaliland has, loudly and clearly, proven Somaliland’s independence. The agreement between DP World and Somaliland has shown that Somaliland is an independent country that can engage in international deals without regard to Mogadishu’s government.” It continued: “DP World’s agreement has ended Mogadishu’s claim for controlling Somaliland territory.”
The newspaper cited DP World CEO Ahmed Bin Sulayem as saying: “Somaliland is an independent country for the last 28 years. It is a very stable country. It has a vibrant democratic system. Our project won the endorsement of Somaliland’s parliament.”
Somaliland Press said: “Whether we like it or not, Ethiopia is a regional power to reckon with. Since Ethiopia has a share in the port, it will become its sea route which will help both Somaliland’s and Ethiopia’s economic growth. Second, since Ethiopia invested in Somaliland, Ethiopia will assist Somaliland strengthen its peace and stability.
“Ethiopia will not tolerate any regional authorities, Mogadishu’s government, or enemies to sabotage Somaliland’s stability. Lastly, Ethiopia and Dubai will work closely together to ensure Somaliland’s recognition provided that the port attains its intended objectives.”
Muse Behi Abdi Abdi, president of Somaliland, has recently been in Dubai meeting government ministers.