BY ADDISALEM MULAT
Today’s exclusive column guest goes by the name of Deputy Amb. Barkhad Mohamoud Kaariye, Somaliland Permanent Diplomatic Mission in Ethiopia. He is a Ph.D. Candidate in Governance, Development, and Peace at the United Nations University for Peace (UPEACE). Of late, he has made a short stay with The Ethiopian Herald intending to familiarize the general public with the nitty-gritty of the strong and mature relations of the two countries Ethiopia and Somaliland in a wide spectrum of spheres and other crucial issues. Excerpts:
What is your take on Ethio-Somaliland relations?
As everyone is well aware of the relationship between Ethiopia and Somali-land, it is stepping in the right direction from time to time. As the length and breadth of our country are peaceful, democratic, and full of investment opportunities, the two countries have been reaping the fruit of success in a wide array of aspects over and over again. We work day in and day out to attract international investors and help them achieve all investment goals with no trouble all over the country. Investors have been harvesting the fruit of success.
While on the subject, the Berbera Port which is heading in the right direction is one of the biggest investment projects on a national scale. The two countries are known for working hand-in-glove and taking their respective countries to the next level of success. When the first phase expansion project of the world-class Port of Berbera is finalized, the whole thing will be easier and simpler for Ethiopia and other countries.
By the same token, the entire project sees the light of day by the end of the next year and embarks on operating by the same period. This multi-purpose project is worth a total of 442 mln. USD. From the tripartite investment agreement on Berbera Port, Ethiopia holds 19 percent stake, DP World holds a 51 percent, while Somaliland holds the rest. There is also a multi-million economic free zone in Berbera that will boost the function of the port as well. As the first phase of the project, the facility that covers 400-meter quay and 250,000 square meters yard is expected to serve multiple functions and play an indispensable role in boosting economic ties in the region.
Likewise, the port opens additional sea outlets to Ethiopia and its benefits to the import-export business are huge. It as well helps Ethiopia and Somaliland to engage in a balanced trade and serve their mutual interests and creates employment opportunities for the youths of the two nations. Nowadays, sixty-two percent of the first phase of the project is completed. Apart from contributing to the wider African continent.
The strategic and geographic location of Somaliland makes us a key player concerning the region. Unlike other countries in the region, there has never been piracy in our sea. More importantly, regarding regional cooperation, we believe that less could be achieved without Somaliland’s contribution. We have good working and cooperation relations with different countries in the region and beyond. Our policy is to live in peace and coexistence with our neighbors. Therefore, Berbera Port has a huge contribution to that economic coexistence with our African brothers.
What is your take on the common border development of the two countries?
The ongoing Berbera project is one of the biggest projects between Ethiopia and Somaliland. They have a strong relation beyond borders. In the same way, we are not only countries that have trade relations, but also, we have traditional, cultural, historical, and people-to-people relations between the two countries. I would say, we are the major partner of Ethiopia in terms of trade and security and the project is the beacon of peace in the region. Needless to say, the trade relations between the two countries Ethiopia and Somaliland goes back to centuries. The trade relations of the two countries have been yielding results. As far as I am concerned, the trade relation of both countries is flourishing more than ever before. It will keep on growing time and again. To the best of my knowledge, the future of the two countries is very rosy.
Source: The Ethiopian Herald