Ministers from Somaliland administration and delegates from the infrastructure, energy and the extraction industry are in Nairobi, Kenya for the investment forum that kicked off yesterday.
The Somaliland administration will be hoping to woo investors into the internationally unrecognized country to explore the massive resources it has to offer.
Key among the speakers in the conference was the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Mining and Petroleum John Munyes who played a role in convincing potential Kenyan investors to take up opportunities being offered by the Somaliland leaders.
In a statement from Somaliland capital Hargeisa, President Muse Bihi said Somaliland is convinced that the three key sectors –infrastructure, energy and extractives – hold the key to unlocking the country’s economic prosperity.
“Firstly, we believe that promoting physical connectivity across the country will enhance our capacity to improve service delivery, facilitate trade, and ease stress migration.
“Secondly, we expect the production and supply of affordable energy to better position us as a government to promote private sector development, thereby paving the way for the growth of industrial and commercial sectors that have thus far remained largely untapped.
“Thirdly, we hope to exploit the abundant natural resources of our country as part of reducing poverty and advancing prosperity for all of our citizens,” said Bihi.
Among the Somaliland ministers in Nairobi is Finance Minister Saad Ali Shire and Yasin Mohamud Hiir, Minister Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Others taking part in the conference are investors, Federico Banos-Linder, Vice President External Relations, DP World whose company is responsible for the rebuilding and expanding the Port of Berbera, David Stanton, Director General, Trade Mark East Africa, representative of the African Development Bank (AfDB) among others.
President Bihi said the Investment Forum is part of the country’s effort to mobilize resources outside their own capacity.
“Our vocation lies in fostering long-term and mutually-beneficial relationships with international partners from all walks of life, particularly private entities with the business interest we are in a position to furnish.
“The intent of this conference is to give an overview of current ongoing Infrastructure projects in Somaliland and how to create synergy on the various development projects for maximum impact,” Somaliland ambassador to Kenya Bashe Omar said in a statement.
Somaliland mineral resources remain vastly untapped. Large deposits of petroleum have been discovered in parts of Somaliland with drilling already ongoing.
Somaliland has 24 blocks of 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.
Genel stated that initial results have offered sufficient encouragement for a number of high graded areas to be targeted with infill 2D seismic acquisition.
Among the blocks, Genel has been working on is Odewayne whose potential estimates of 1 billion barrels has seen no seismic data acquired before this.
It remains undrilled although the scale of the basin and comparison with analogue basins suggests the potential for developing a significant portfolio of potentially drillable structures.
Onshore Somaliland is a relatively unexplored region, with few exploration wells drilled.
Somaliland, which has a population of around 4 million people does not get support from international financial institutions but the discovery of oil may turn around the fortunes whose population and the economy largely depends on remittances.