Somaliland: Emirates Revive Life in Berbera

“Look there, it was not there two years ago,” he said, pointing to a cluster of modern-style buildings. Everything in there were non-existent before. The town was a cluster of small houses inhabited by poor people, few government buildings and shops. , The UAE is not implementing a project, but is making a full life here in Berbera. The mega projects have brought huge investments to the city, where a group of companies has popped up in all fields. The prices of land have risen automatically and there is a market for them. In the past they were very cheap and often do not find buyers. The situation is different now.

Abd al-Karim Abdi Haj, a Barbarian citizen who works as a driver for a heavy machinery in the port of Berbera – which lies about 160 km Northeast of the Somaliland capital Hargeisa – spoke of the people in the city. They are working hard trying to paint a different picture of those in the Somali media, who are always supportive of terrorism. They really hurt them because they are different, they are committed to peace and they dream of a better homeland.

The journey from Hergisa to Berbera was not easy but it is not as difficult as it is. The road is paved with a name, like the rest of the roads in this country, which is suffering the injustice of the policies of the international community that refuses to recognize them and thus cannot obtain funding for the advancement of infrastructure. A miracle in light of the state of economic embargo declared by successive governments in accordance with a real electoral cycle.

Somaliland Foreign Affairs Minister

Invest in ethics

I spent an hour and a half going to the port of Berbera, at the beginning of our four-day visit to this country. I was captivated by previous visits to projects and investments carried out by countries in other countries. I never saw what I saw in Berbera. Looking for major shareholders and key developers of the port, one of the recipients rushed to the question «Where are the DP officials»?

“We are DP officials here in Berbera,” said the man who was just over forty years old. “We are dealing with a respectable institution and a more respectful country. They did not invade our country like others do with cheap foreign labor to make money. But they trained and qualified us to manage this port in their favor. Yes, I understand they could have brought qualified workers from any country in the world and they do not care about us.

But because the UAE and its institutions are working ethically high even in the investment did not go to this easy solution, but they have trained local workers and have conducted internal and external training for them and handed over this work and they are now running efficiently and thanks to the «d. Which is the name used here by DP World.

Local Employment

Ali Mahmoud Ismail, who later learned that he is the director of operations in the port of Berbera, said: “99% of the employment used in the port of Berbera is a local, particularly came from the people who live in the Berbera itself, and the number of workers in the port stands at 780 jobs. He is proud that a very large number of houses were opened and improved.  The situation of people has changed much since the arrival of «Dubai Ports”.

“Dubai Ports has set up many training courses on the best port management programs. We are now working on an advanced program that is in use at many international ports. The work has been computerized within the port. All the transactions are done electronically at the port and it has now become a reality. ”

“Since DP World took over the management of the port, there have been many changes,” Ismail said, explaining the developments in the port since the signing of the agreement between the government of the Republic of Somaliland and the Dubai Ports Authority. We have added a lot of equipment. We have added three mobile port cranes, along with empty container handlers, passenger cars and forklifts. All this happened at this stage »

Stages of Work

According to Ismael, the work is divided into three phases. “We are currently working on three phases: Phase 0, Phase 1 and Phase II. As part of the zero phase, we are developing the current terminal. We have made many changes, including infrastructure, electricity, training facilities, etc.

The first phase will begin in five months and will be complete by 2020. During that time, the “Green Zone” will be established. It will create a new berth adjacent to the existing 800 meter long berth, which will be dedicated to containers. The work will begin on the ground, and the free zone will be completed.

In the year 2016, the Somaliland Parliament voted to grant DP World, the world’s fourth largest port operator, a 30-year concession with a 10-year automatic extension to the management and development of the port in Berbera. Under the deal, DP World will invest $ 442 million (AED 1.62 billion), with a 51% stake in the project, while the Somali Land government owns 30%. As part of another deal announced last month, Ethiopia will have a 19 per cent stake in the port.

Community Projects

According to the Director of Operations in the port of Berbera, Dubai Ports has not only invested in the port, which has made a significant shift in people’s lives, but has supported many community projects. To the local population through the excavation of five artesian wells that serve the people of the region.

“The ports of Dubai have clearly stated the city’s economy; the construction sector has been given an incentive for the expansions and improvements already made to the port. “The land in the region is also rising. The infrastructure in the region is improving and many companies are coming here to do business.

DP World also assists the Berbera Maritime and Fisheries Academy founded in 2012 and has 85 students, including 12 women. Speaking to reporters, Somaliland’s foreign minister, Dr. Saad Ali Shire said that no one had the authority to intervene in a deal between the government and DP World. “This is an economic and commercial deal that will benefit everyone in the Horn of Africa.”

Loading and Unloading

The sun was signaling the departure when we entered the port’s loading and unloading area with active traffic in the port, which had increased its capacity. All its aspects were illuminated by an advanced lighting system that could operate for twenty-four hours. Cargos are loaded through two lifts. The positive energy by the workers in the port, the noise of trucks entering the area from time to time, the sounds issued by the cranes, and the high enthusiasm in the eyes of all customers in the port show the importance this has for Horn of Africa. This will happen soon after the road with Ethiopia is completed.

We left the port of Berbera and we are confident that the future of this city will witness great changes under the mentality that is running the work there and the great enthusiasm that Dubai Ports World has ignited in the hearts of local people who never hide their respect and gratitude for the economic activity of the UAE Best.

Established Deep Relationships

“If the UAE did not allow Al-Arabia and FlyDubai to come t our airports, it would have been hard for all the people in this country to go to the rest of world” said Abdul Rahman Shaba Adiki, a citizen of Somaliland who has Canadian citizenship. Previously he came from Canada to Addis Ababa and from there to Hergisa Airport.

But my last trip was through Dubai International Airport. I cannot imagine the feeling I felt when the internal radio of Dubai International Airport echoed the name of the flight to Hergisa airport. It was an indescribable feeling that I did not lie to you if I said my tears flowed, yes many did not know where Hergisa and Somaliland is but now many people know them through Dubai Airport Radio and its billboards. They are making a life for this country, “he concluded, referring to UAE projects.

Soure: Albayan