Dubai company DP world is committed to building the Somaliland Port of Berbera to a world-class facility.

This is part of the infrastructural developments the DP world says it is involved in as part of its mission to turn around the horn of Africa country.

Federico Banos-Linder, Vice President External Relations, DP World, the company that has invested USD 442 million to rebuild the Port of Berbera said once the port is done, Somaliland will be one of the biggest players in the maritime industry in the Horn of Africa.

“Already with phase one of the three phases done, we have increased the container capacity by 50 per cent and pushed volumes by 70 per cent which is a massive improvement.

“We are now exporting 4 million livestock from 1.5 million just less than a year ago,” said  Banos-Linder.

Banos-Linder said this during the Conference on Infrastructure, energy and extractives hosted by the Somaliland embassy in Kenya at the capital Nairobi.

At a conference in Nairobi on Thursday, Somaliland government stated the country was lagging behind and poor in energy consumption per capita, public capital stock per capita and exploitation of mineral resources which provides a rich seam for investors.

“There are tremendous opportunities in the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity from conventional and renewable resources,” Somaliland finance minister Dr Saad Ali Shire said during the Infrastructure, Energy and Extraction Conference in Nairobi.

“On infrastructure, there are opportunities in urban water infrastructure, waste management systems, roads, ports, airports, social housing and high-end health care infrastructure,” he added.

These he said required foreign input for Somaliland to achieve its long term development goals and build partnerships in the region and beyond.

“As a government, we will provide the right environment for foreign investment to thrive,” said the finance minister who added that there is a wide range of minerals yet to be tapped.

The conference brought together leaders and local Somaliland investors, Kenya Private Sector Alliance, officials from the ministries of mining and petroleum in Kenya, officials from the DP World, Africa Development Bank, World Bank, officials from several European and middle east embassies and a horde of other foreign investors.

Jamal Aideed Ibrahim, the vice-chairman of Somaliland Chamber of Commerce and Industry said improving infrastructure should be the government’s key agenda if it is to attract investors.

Somaliland is engaged in several infrastructural developments among them the building of US $400m road project that will link Ethiopia’s border town of Togochale to Berbera Port in Somaliland and the restoration of the  Berbera Airport in the second largest city of Somaliland to have it accommodate large aircraft.

But from the conference, it was clear the country still needs to do much to improve on its energy sector.

There are already some activities in oil exploration. The country has 24 blocks, oil six of which have already been put under concession to three companies

Three blocks have been commissioned to Genel Energy, two to Rak Gas while one will be handled by Ansen Gas.

Other speakers during the conference included David Stanton, Director General, Trade Mark East Africa, Eric Labee, Africa Representative, Boskalis and Amb. Johnson Weru, Director Econ. Affairs and Communication Diplomacy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ministry, Kenya

Somaliland envoy to Kenya Bashe Omar said his office will facilitate investors willing to venture into the country.

He said with regional integration and the world becoming more connected, Somaliland strategic location along the mouth of one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world (Bab-Al-Mandab) and the red sea route meeting the Indian Ocean offers a huge opportunity for investment and hence the conference in Nairobi.