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Somaliland's Berbera Economic Zone opens with DP World's Jebel Ali Free Zone model

Wednesday March 8, 2023


Hargeisa (HOL) - DP World, in partnership with the Government of Somaliland, has launched the Berbera Economic Zone (BEZ), which is set to become a major trade hub in the Horn of Africa alongside the Port of Berbera. Based on the model of DP World's highly successful Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, the BEZ aims to attract investment and create jobs in Somaliland by offering a business-friendly environment. This includes a new Special Economic Zone Law, Special Economic Zone Companies Law, fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, as well as a one-stop shop for all registration and licensing requirements, modern offices, warehousing, and serviced land plots.

"The dynamics of global trade are changing, and there is a growing need for trade infrastructure, such as economic zones, with easy and fast access to international shipping. The integration of Berbera port with the new Economic Zone is a great example of this, making Berbera a world-class trading ecosystem, now and for the future," said Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World.

DP World has already signed an agreement with UAE-based food company IFFCO to develop a 300,000 square feet edible oil packing plant in the BEZ. A dozen more companies operating across various sectors have already registered. The BEZ is 15 km from the Port of Berbera, along the Berbera to Wajaale road, which connects to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. This integrated maritime, logistics and industrial hub will serve the Horn of Africa, a region with more than 140 million people.

The opening of the BEZ follows the inauguration of the new container terminal at the Port of Berbera in June 2021. DP World's vision for Berbera is to develop it into a trade hub, taking advantage of its strategic location along one of the busiest sea routes in the world and access to the vast hinterland in the region, including Ethiopia.

The BEZ's Master Plan covers more than 1,200 hectares and will be expanded over time as demand grows. With phase one now open, it offers serviced land plots for the construction of company facilities, 10,000 square meters of pre-built warehouses, build-to-suit facilities, open yard storage, a common user warehouse which DP World will operate to handle customers' cargo, as well as office space with end-to-end IT services.

The Berbera Port is a cornerstone of the economy. As a result of the expansion, it is expected to facilitate trade equivalent to approximately 27% of Somaliland's GDP and 75% of regional trade by 2035. The BEZ will make trade easier for businesses in Somaliland and the wider Horn of Africa, benefiting sectors such as exporters, importers, and processors of livestock, agricultural and perishable goods, textiles, and construction materials.

"This is another proud and historic moment for Somaliland and its people. After the inauguration of the container terminal at the Port of Berbera, and now with the economic zone open for business, we are taking a major leap forward in realizing our vision to establish Berbera as an integrated, regional trade gateway, which will be a key driver of economic growth, achieved through increased trade flows, foreign investment, and job creation," said Muse Bihi Abdi, President of Somaliland, at the opening event.


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