Somaliland: Foreign Minister says Chinese Investment in Somaliland will facilitate the development of the country

HARGEISA (SomalilandPress)–Somaliland Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Mohamed Abdillahi Omar, today gave more details about the trilateral agreement between China, Ethiopia and Somaliland that the government pre-agreed last week in China. The Minister have said, that Somaliland has not any economic power, and he underlined that this agreement was all about the investment of the economic infrastructure including the improvement of port of Berbera and the construction the road that will connect Somaliland and Ethiopia.

SomalilandPress reporter Abdikadir Elmi Kahin (Shiine) was able to ask the Foreign Minster several questions regarding this trilateral agreement that has western countries questioning the merit of the agreement. Dr. Omar held a press conference at the Presidential palace where several other reporters were also able ask questions pertaining to the agreement and the China trip that he went with the President.

Q: Minister, the triangular agreement with Ethiopia and China was about expanding Berbera port, the construction of a rail road system and to refine the oil and gas of Ethiopia in Berbera, please give as further details on how things will happen?

A: We have been in negotiation with the Chinese firm on rebuilding our country’s infrastructure for some time and the expansion of Berbera Port. Our administration’s goal is to make Berbera Port a regional hub for all commercial trades and the agreement that we signed with Petro Trans Company will enable us to reach that goal. We have reach preliminary agreement with the Chinese firm, however the financial and procedural portion of the agreement has not been confirmed and we expect that to be done in the near future. Somaliland does not have the capability to carry out such a massive project and therefore we have decided to cooperate with international firms. Chine as you all are aware of has invested in countries like Ethiopia, Sudan, Southern Sudan and even Kenya. I believe that the investment of China on Somaliland is reliable and could play a big role on the development of the country.

Q: Does your government have any other deals on the table thus far?
A: The President led a delegation to the Gulf regions several months ago and at that trip our government presented the investment opportunities that Somaliland has to offer to the Gulf regions. United Arabs Emirates and Kuwait were two countries that the president and his team presented the investment opportunities in Somaliland and we are still waiting to hear from those countries

Q: Minister, since this agreement is a triangular agreement between Somaliland, Ethiopia and China and Somaliland is not a recognized country, it is said that Ethiopia has taken the responsibility of this project?

A: This agreement will be between Somaliland and the investors of China. Somaliland has independently signed this agreement with the Chinese Firm and we hope that Ethiopia and all our other neighbors will be able to use the services of Berbera Port. Ethiopia is our neighboring country and we have got a mutual bond in the security, education and commercial sector as well.

Q: Will this new agreement of Chinese firm help in the achieving of recognition from China?

A: We are now preparing to build a good relationship with China and that is the introduction, so if we succeed this cooperation and the new relationship, than we will put the plan to send China a representative from Somaliland and that is one of our major issues a Foreign Affairs to do.

Q: Is this agreement between Somaliland and China or Somaliland with investors?

A: In today’s economic world, corporations are the primary contacts in each country therefore this agreement is between Somaliland and Chinese owned firm. So we penned this agreement as an investment corporation.

Somalilandpress | 21 August 2011


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