(SII-News) Somaliland’s Regional Priorities and Strategic Partnerships. Recent years have seen increasing security and trade relations between Gulf States and the Horn of Africa, presenting opportunities to boost economic growth and improve regional integration. However, the crisis between the Gulf States has polarized the wider region, complicating dialogue. In March 2018, an investment deal between United Arab Emirates (UAE) Company DP World, Somaliland and Ethiopia to develop Berbera Port facilities was rejected by the Somali parliament, demonstrating increased diplomatic strain, with further controversy over the establishment of a UAE military base in the city
In an event held at Chatham House, London UK on 19 April 2018 from 12:00pm to 1:00pm, Somaliland Foreign Minister HE Dr. Saad Ali Shire laid out Somaliland’s regional priorities and strategic partnerships.
At this event, HE Dr. Saad Ali Shire discussed regional relations including with neighbors Somalia and Ethiopia, the influence of the Gulf States and impact of the crisis, and developments in the Berbera Port deal and other infrastructure projects, as well as how they can progress Somaliland’s economic growth and regional integration.
“Somaliland has key strategic location & important maritime corridor, with over 10% of world trade passing through corridor. Somaliland is an active participant in regional anti-piracy organisations”
“Somaliland has one of the most important ports on the Red Sea, which is a potential gateway to a market of over 176 million people in regional countries”
Somaliland is a flag bearer of democracy in the region, holding 6 elections since 2002 despite its fragility, & plays a key role in supporting regional peace & stability
Dr. Saad Ali Shire said, “National vision is to see a stable, democratic & prosperous country with high quality of life. Regional vision is to see a family of states in the Horn of Africa with integrated economies”. He continued saying: “we would like to have similar cordial relations with Somalia as we have with Ethiopia & Djibouti. We have not abandoned the Turkish facilitated dialogue with Somalia & will re-start them when the time is right”.
“Somaliland has strong economic & political ties with the Gulf states based on mutual interests. 80% of exports go to Saudi Arabia; 20% to Yemen; and 1/3 of imports arrive via the UAE”.
“We hope that Berbera Port deals lead to employment opportunities at construction phase, as well as increased logistical & transport jobs due to greater traffic through the port”.
“Somaliland government collects taxes from Berbera Port – these are used to provide community services that will benefit the wider population”.
Saad Ali Shire providing concluding remarks to a packed hall at Chatham House said, “Somaliland shares the history, culture & values of the Commonwealth. My visit to the UK coincides with Commonwealth summit & we aspire to be member of the Commonwealth soon”.
Source: Chatham House