The building of the Berbera Corridor is bound to turn around trade links between Somaliland and Ethiopia.
Somaliland President Muse Bihi opened the first completed 12-kilometre phase the project, the second major infrastructural project the country building after the expansion of the Port of Berbera by the Dubai Ports World (DP World).
The 72 kilometre-road is an ambitious and strategic road project that will also enable Somaliland to benefit greatly from the winds of change blowing across the Horn of Africa.
The project is worth US$400m and once complete with link Ethiopia’s border town of Togochale to Berbera Port in Somaliland which is strategic to landlocked Ethiopia.
It is estimated Somaliland imports to Ethiopia is worth over US$800m annually and the Berbera-Togochale corridor will be instrumental in facilitating import-export trade for Ethiopia’s economy.
The road projects are being funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.
Eng. Tahir Mehmood of Nael $ Bin Harmal Hydaro-export Establishment (NBHH) the firm tasked with the construction of the Berbera Corridor reiterated the firm ‘s commitment of completing the highway within the stipulated timeframe.
Minister of Transport and Highway Development, Abdilahi Abokor Osman said the road has been made to last for ages.
“We are here to open part of the Berbera Corridor, which is a 12 KM stretch that has been completed. I would like to point out that this road is different from the earlier road which was built to handle 6 tonnes, the new road can now handle 40 tonnes and more, and its 11.3 meters wide and evermore durable”, the minister said.
The construction of the Berbera corridor was an integral part of a contract agreement made by the Somaliland government and the United Arab Emirates and its owned port company Dubai Ports World.
Ambassador Bashe Omar who initiated the agreement while representing Somaliland in UAW said his government appreciates the continuous valuable investment projects UAE has put in the Somaliland economy.
“The UAE has a long track record of engagement with Somaliland. 42 years ago the then ruler of UAE, Sheikh Zayed awarded an Italian construction company a contract to build Burao-Berbera road.
“And now the current ruler of UAE, Sheikh Zayed son, Sheikh Khalifa is following his dad footsteps and continues to cement the half a century relationship between the two nations by funding the construction of the Berbera Corridor (Berbera-Tog Wajaale). May Allah Bless the UAE and its rulers,” said Bashe Omar.
The DP World signed a 30-year concession agreement to administer the Berbera port which is located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden. The expansion will lead to the capacity of the port increase by 50%. The Berbera corridor is meant to complement the main port.
BY ODINDO AYIEKO