By: The PH Team
Somaliland is an unrecognized country in the Horn of Africa, internationally recognized as part Somalia.
Somaliland, which separated from Somaliland in 1991, has been a functioning de facto state ever since.
In addition to being considered the only democracy in the region, Somaliland has also been able to provide security to its citizens and attract foreign investment - primarily from Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates.
Berbera a coastal city and primary port city of the unrecognized country of Somaliland. In antiquity, Berbera was part of a chain of commercial port cities along the Somali seaboard.
During the early modern period, due to its strategic location, Berbera was the most important place of trade in the entire Horn of Africa.
Later on, it became the capital of the British Somaliland protectorate (British Somaliland) from 1884 to 1941, when it was replaced by Hargeisa. Hargeisa remains the capital of Somaliland until today.
Port of Berbera
The Port of Berbera, also known as Berbera Port, is the official seaport of Berbera, the commercial capital of Somaliland.
Berbera Port historically served as a naval and missile base for the Somali central government. Following a 1972 agreement between the Siad Barre administration and the USSR.
It was later expanded for US military use, after the Somali authorities strengthened ties with the American government.
In 2018, Ethiopia became a major shareholder following an agreement with Dubai Port World (a company from the United Arab Emirates) and the Somaliland Port Authority.
Dubai Port World holds a 51% stake in the project, Somaliland 30% and Ethiopia the remaining 19%.
As part of the agreement, the government of Ethiopia will invest in infrastructure to develop the Berbera Corridor as a trade gateway to the sea for the landlocked country.
In addition to the government of Ethiopia, the government of the United Arab Emirates is also involved.
The agreement comes as part of a larger government-to-government Memorandum of understanding between Government of the United Arab Emirates and the Administration of Somaliland to further strengthen their strategic ties in the region of east Africa.
The agreement has caused increased friction with the government in Somalia in Mogadishu. The Somali government claims that Somaliland doesn't have the authority to sign such agreements since the territory is recognized as part of Somalia.
The government of the unrecognized country of Somaliland has disputed this and has continued forward with the port's expansion.
Berbera Port Expansion
Somaliland president Muse Behi Abdi and Dubai Port World chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sultan bin Sulayem signed a multi-million dollar partnership for the Berbera Port expansion, designed to equip the Somaliland port for major vessels and transform it into one of Africa’s best port facilities.
The first phase of the $101 million investment will see the port of Berbera expanded by 250,000 square metres and modernise its facilities. Total investment of the two phases will reach $442m.
President Bihi Abdi said: “Connecting to landlocked countries such as Ethiopia and the rest of the region will reinforce the firm relationships that now exist and make Somaliland an important player in regional economic integration and growth. The importance of the Port of Berbera as a Red Sea gateway for the Middle East and Africa can now be realised, unlocking our potential as a trade hub and creating jobs across the country.”
It is expected to bring huge economic benefit to the unrecognized country in the years ahead.