Somaliland: Emirati Investment and the Resurgence of Berbera


A street in the old town centre of Berbera Somaliland on March 24 2017 Photo TRF Tom Gardner

Somalilandsun- A $400 million port project has sparked a “land rush”, as diaspora Somalilanders and wealthy businessmen flock to buy a piece of the crumbling port town of Berbera

Unnoticed by a casual visitor Somaliland’s small, rusty Gulf of Aden port which for centuries made the town prosperous is rapidly rising from the ashes of oblivion.

Berbera, along the coast from Djibouti, has been a backwater since 1991 when Somaliland broke away from Somalia following a bloody civil war.
The town’s buildings, some dating back to the Ottoman era, stand neglected. Unemployment is rampant, exacerbated by a devastating drought that has decimated livestock, a backbone of the export economy.
But last September Somaliland’s government signed its largest-ever investment deal which could allow Berbera to become a major trading hub for goods to and from the Horn of Africa.
The development will be carried out by DP World, a multinational port operator from the United Arab Emirates, which has valued the project at more than $400 million. The deal was followed by another with the UAE, signed in March, for a military base a few kilometres down the road.
Locals and investors believe Berbera is on the brink of an economic boom that will make the town wealthy once more.
“There has been more building in the last two years than in the whole period from 1991,” reports Journalist Tom Gardener in a piece “Multi-million dollar deal for Somaliland’s historic port sparks land rush