The construction of the multi-million Berbera Economic Free Zone is set to start after the Somaliland government and the Dubai based DP World company signed an agreement inaugurating the project.
Somaliland President Muse Bihi and the Vice President of the DP World Suhail Al Banna officially signed the agreement setting the stage for the construction of what is expected to become the largest free economic zone in the horn of Africa.
Situated on 12 square kilometres, the new free zone will complement the growth of the Port of Berbera as a regional trading hub and generate jobs, the Dubai-based multi-businesses.
The project is also modelled on DP World’s Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza) in Dubai and aims to attract investments, encourage trade, create new jobs and position Berbera as a gateway port for the region.
“Our vision for Berbera is to make it a regional maritime hub in the Horn of Africa and its development will encourage growth for the region’s economy,” said Al Banna.
“It’s also a boost for local prosperity — jobs for the people of Somaliland and future generations. We look forward to bringing our global experience here and to help develop the Berbera Corridor, which is key to encouraging regional economic activity,” he added.
The free zone will house various businesses including warehousing, logistics, traders, manufacturers and other related businesses.
President Bihi explained his government’s long term commitment to develop the country and create employment through such ventures while at the same time building the country as a trading hub.
Somaliland Finance Minister Saad Al Shire who signed the agreement on behalf of the government said their partnership with DP World is a model that they are keen to develop for the benefit of all.
“This free zone will complement the growth of Berbera Port, enabling it to become a gateway for trade to the region and the whole of Africa.
“It will also generate jobs for the local population and encourage small and medium-sized companies in the area to locate their operations in an environment conducive to trade. Our partnership with DP World is a model that we will develop and for the benefit of all,” said Saad.
BY ODINDO AYIEKO