DUBAI (Reuters) - DP World extended its reach into Somaliland on Monday, announcing that it would develop an economic zone in the breakaway Somali region.
The chairman of the Dubai state-owned port operator, Sultan bin Sulayem, and Somaliland’s foreign minister Saad Ali Shire signed the agreement in Dubai on Monday to develop the Berbera Free Zone, DP World said in a statement.
A 12.2 square kilometre area has been earmarked for the greenfield economic zone, which will target sectors such as logistics and manufacturing. The project will be developed in phases starting with an initial 4 square km.
DP World did not say how much would be invested developing the economic zone, and cautioned further details would have to be worked out after government elections in Somaliland on Nov. 13.
“We look forward to finalising the details of the Berbera Free Zone with the next government of Somaliland and look forward to our continued partnership,” bin Sulayem said.
DP World is already present in Somaliland, with a joint venture controlled by the port operator winning a 30 year concession last year to develop the Port of Berbera.
At the time DP World said the port would require $442 million of investment over three phases.
“Our vision is to make Berbera a trading and transportation hub for the Horn of Africa and we look forward to achieving this together,” bin Sulayem said Monday.
Somaliland’s small port currently exports camels to the Middle East and imports foodstuffs and other items. It also provides some transport links for neighbouring Ethiopia, a landlocked country that has friendly relations with the breakaway region.
Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Keith Weir