Somaliland: Berbera Cement Factory, a Sign of Hope


The now derict from Looting Berbera cement factory built in the 1970s photo by Jan Oberg

Somaliland sun – One of the main terrains that characterizes our country are the sedimentary structures that cover most of the northern coast of the country, or what is known as Guban Area, that area which is characterized by the existence of certain geological structures such as Golis Mountain range, the sedimentary structures of Cretaceous stone, various kinds of limestone, sandstone and clay, as well as the basement rock, this area or region has its own unique atmosphere that attracts the eyes and minds of everyone, also spreads a state of joy and relaxation to the visitors.
These picturesque nature and wonderful appearances have uses and benefits that exceeds beyond its beauty and splendor, every stone on the ground and every glamorous structure, every mineral in nature serves a purpose and use, as Almighty Allah said in the holy Quran that he didn’t create the heavens and the earth in vain “Not for (idle) sport did We create the heavens and the earth and all that is between!” *(16) the prophets.
This region that I’ve mentioned earlier (Guban Basin) is composed of a series of on- and offshore sub-basins, which cover areas of 100 – 1000s of sq. Km and which contain more than 3000 m of sedimentry sections, and this basin has undergone the Oligocene-Miocene rifting of the Gulf of Aden which subjected the conjugate margins of Somaliland and Southern Yemen to an extensional system of East-West to ENE-WSW striking normal faults which reactivate pre-existing Mesozoic faults (Ali and Watts, 2013, Bellahsen et al., 2013; Leroy et al., 2012).
This area is considered the motherboard and source of the valuable metals and economic wealth in our map, where the precious metals, gemstones as well as economic mineral ores located in great abundance, such as the cement, coal, limestone and sandstone which are used in construction.
In this article I will try to mention some facts about our cement stock, as I will try to shed a light on the principals of our need to function our minds in a cooperated fashion, and try to benefit from the goods of the earth, which we are in dire need of it now more than ever.
In 2012 Somaliland and Somalia together consumed an imported cement of quantity 100,000 tons, While Berbera Cement Plant had a capacity of 200,000 tons per year, and it seems now that the establishment or re-create of Berbera Cement Plant is necessary to complete the economic boom that’s taking place in the country since President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Siilaanyo took charge, it is clear that the comprehensive development process that the government implemented has included most sectors, but the cement sector, which is important and vital for the growth of the employment and jobs sector.
As we know, our country lacks the resources to form a fulfilling employment base for the various segments of the society, especially young people, who represent the majority of the community, and in order to create job opportunities for labor workers and university graduates which exceeds thousands per year, it is the duty of the government and the society to provide jobs for these graduates and trainees, in that case the re-establishment of Berbera Cement Factory must be regarded as a priority, in which we must organize committees and make strategies to operate it, to spread hope among people, personally I think it would be the beginning of larger projects that would attract foreign investors.
To be clear and get into the heart of the matter, I may have to analyze in a hurry the approaches and methods of the possibility of establishing such a factory, it can effectively be carried out in one of the following approaches:
1. By the state / government to invest some of the tax revenues and state budget, or by allocating a special budget, and would be under management and control of the state, one benefit of this method is lack of fierce competition, and full confidence in the state by the people, leading to confidence in how to manage the outcome, unfortunately it is outside the scope of the financial capacity of the government at the present time.
2. By foreign investment, in which the Government holds an auction to obtain the rights to operate the factory, where the company which our interest lies with will gain the license to operate and manage the factory under the tutelage of the state, also reduction of fierce internal competition is one of the advantages, as well as the possibility of achieving it on the ground regarding to the huge ability of major foreign companies to invest on such large scales, but the issue of trust may seem a hassle this way, where the confidence in foreign investments may seem premature in the country.
3. By domestic or national investment, via capable local companies, however, this approach may create a difficult competition, or a split inside the corridors of the community, which may result in a state of excitability of tribalism and division which could eventually cause a battle over resources.
Whatever the case is, we all agree that the re-establishment of the cement plant is essential to complete the reconstruction process of our land, and vital for the building of a strong economic infrastructure; which an emerging state can based on, a factory such as Berbera Cement Factory would provide jobs for nearly five thousand workers, a number worthwhile to save from drowning in the ocean.
Salaam Alaykum
Mustafe OsmanMustafe Osman Adam
Department of Geology
Pure and Applied Science
International University of Africa – Sudan