BERBERA, Somaliland, "The UAE � all our business assets are in Dubai, our economic activity depends on the UAE, the flights, the ports etc. This is because the UAE people are a business people. They have managed to attract the entire world to their country. Our economic interests lie with Saudi Arabia and the UAE," Muse Bihi Abdi, the President of Somaliland, has said.
The English language daily, Gulf News quoted President Abdi as stating, "We have very close ties to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Saudi Arabia is a neighbour; it's very close to us. All our exports go to Saudi Arabia. And there are two holy mosques there where our people go on pilgrimage."
In March 2018, DP World agreed to invest $442 million in the Berbera port, controlling a 51 percent stake in the project while the Somaliland government will control 30 percent.
After conducting series of interviews with a number of senior officials in Somaliland, the Dubai-based newspaper said that the officials highlighted the importance of DP World's investment, adding that it will enhance economic and commercial sectors in the country.
Commenting on the DP World investment in the Berbera port, Dr. Sa'ad Ali Shire, Somaliland Foreign Minister, said, "This is an economic and commercial deal that will benefit everyone in the Horn of Africa region."
He continued, "Many people here speak Arabic and have either worked in, or have relatives in, the Gulf states. The port project has given a fillip to the trade between the two sides.
"The region has enjoyed close ties with the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Its biggest export to the Gulf countries has been livestock, all of it heading out through the port in Berbera."
The port's annual capacity is 150,000 TEUs-twenty-foot equivalent units (container); 15 million MT (general cargo, bulk, ad break bulk); and 4 million heads (livestock).
DP World Berbera provides roughly assistance of $4800 a month to the nearby Berbera Maritime and Fisheries Academy, which was established in 2012 and has graduated 85 students, including 12 women. The port has also donated $770,181 in the past 12 months to educational institutions, mosques and hospitals in the region and built five water wells for the community.
In 2016, the Somaliland parliament voted in favour of granting DP World, the world's fourth biggest port operator, a 30-year concession with an automatic 10-year extension for the management and development of the port at Berbera.
Source: Emirates News Agency