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DP World: Golden Opportunity for Somaliland

by Abdi Hussein Daud
Sunday, March 18, 2018

The recent DP World investment in Ber-bera Port is the largest single direct foreign investment in Somaliland so far. In this join investment, shares will be divided as follows: DP World 51%, Somaliland 30% and Ethiopia 19%. This investment will have many positive outcomes for Somaliland in terms of new revenue, overall economy, stability, recognition, and future foreign investments. In the following paragraphs, I will highlight the most essential benefits that Somaliland will reap from this investment.


Before DP World investment, Ber-bera Port’s capacity was 40,000 meter ton, generating $175 million annually. But DP World will expand the Port’s capacity to 200,000 meter ton, five-times its original capacity, according to the agreement. This expansion will generate $875 million annually—which is five-times more than what the Port was generating before DP World. In addition, the expansion of the Port will attract more shipping lines to Ber-bera Port which will generate additional revenues. This will undeniably spur regional economic growth by attracting investments and trade in the warehousing, logistics, manufacturing and other businesses. Moreover, Dubai will assist Somaliland (re)build the road between Somaliland and Ethiopia; the development of a free-zone area; grant Somaliland workers ‘favorable migration terms’ in order for them to work in Dubai; build fisheries industry; erect four-star hotel in Ber-bera or Hargeisa. These benefits will surely bump up Somaliland’s economic growth in the near future.

Technological Transfer

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Technological transfer is the process of disseminating technology from one company or country to another. In this context, DP World will transfer technologies, knowledge, skills, equipments, tools, and modern management techniques to Somaliland. This technological transfer will modernize Port’s operations in many different ways. It will provide modern technologies, equipments and tools needed to sufficiently operate the port. It will also introduce the modern management system of ports and other sectors. Both of these aspects will enhance and accelerate the productivity of the port as well as its proficiency. In addition, Somaliland labor force, from many different sectors, will master how to operate these new technologies; they will master an advanced and modern management system; sharpen their communication skills; transform their newly acquired knowledge. In a nutshell, technological transfer will boost Somaliland economy.

Attracting Foreign Investment

Countless companies around the world were not previously confident to invest in Somaliland. They have worried about the risk involved in investing “unrecognized” country. But their worries have been mitigated due to the recent investment of DP World in Somaliland. Before investing in Somaliland, DP World has done extensive study on Somaliland which revealed Somaliland’s political stability and rule of law. Therefore, DP World has realized that there is no risk involved in investing Somaliland. This means that DP World has paved the way for other foreign investors. In other words, other companies will follow the footsteps of DP World and will soon start investing in Somaliland. This is an unprecedented success for Somaliland.

Strengthening Independence

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 independent country that can engage in international deals without regard to Mogadishu’s government. It is indeed the last nail to Somalia’s irredentism coffin. That is to say, DP World’s agreement has ended Mogadishu’s claim for controlling Somaliland territory. This has causes desperate uproar in Mogadishu’s parliament and government. Mogadishu has desperately attempted to stop the agreement, but to no avail. Their desperate begging and pleading has repeatedly fallen on deaf ears. DP World unequivocally told Mogadishu’s government that Somaliland is an independent country and does not need any approval from Mogadishu. “We are not concerned,” says DP World's Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, “the objections of Somalia’s Federal Government. Somaliland is an independent country for the last 28 years. It is very stable country. It has a vibrant democratic system.” The Chairman added that “Our project won the endorsement of Somaliland’s Parliament. Somalia’s Federal Government cannot change anything about this agreement. Whatever they say would have no effect on this agreement.” This demonstrates beyond any reasonable doubt Somaliland’s independence and authority to enter any agreement with foreign investors or foreign governments. It is another success for Somaliland.

Ethiopia’s Role

Whether we like it or not, Ethiopia is a regional power to reckon with. And its share of Ber-bera Port will provide many essential benefits for Somaliland. First, the agreement enumerates that landlocked Ethiopia will invest Ber-bera Port as a trade gateway. 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.

In conclusion, DP World’s investment in Ber-bera Port is a success story which will have positive effects in Somaliland’s economy, stability, recognition and future foreign investments.

Abdi Hussein Daud
Minneapolis, MN
He can be reached at: [email protected]

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