Somaliland: The Historic Chinese Visit


Chinese envoy to Somalia ambassador Wei Hongtian on a supervision tour of Berbera port in Somaliland

By: Khadar Adan 

Somalilandsun- At the invitation of the Chinese Community in Somaliland, Chinese Ambassador to Somalia H. E. Mr. Wei Hongtian traveled to Somaliland during the month of November 2016. This historic occasion marks the first visit of a high-ranking Chinese diplomat to Somaliland. 

H.E. Ambassador Wei’s trip included multiple stops. The first was a visit to the site of the China Water Project in Somaliland (China-Biyo), funded and constructed by the government of China in the 1970s and 1980s. Second was a journey to Berbera Port, where H.E. Ambassador Wei met with the Port Manager and discussed opportunities for future collaborations with Somaliland at the Port. Thirdly, the Ambassador toured Hargeisa Group Hospital, where a Chinese medical team worked previously, and announced a forthcoming donation to the Hospital. These activities are representative of the social responsibilities assumed by Chinese Community in Somaliland, and characteristic of its local presence. 

Somaliland VP Andirahman Sayli and Somaliland officials at meeting with Chinese envoy to Somalia ambassador in Hargeisa Finally, H.E. Ambassador Wei met with Somaliland Vice-President Abdirahman Saylici to discuss the Somaliland situation. He also met with relevant Somaliland Ministers, including the Minister of Livestock, Hon. Abdillahi Mohamed Dahir, a former classmate of the Ambassador. His Excellency was pleased at Somaliland’s peaceful and safe atmosphere. 

The Ambassador’s visit also served to bolster the relationship between the Chinese Community of Somaliland and local citizens. As there are no current diplomatic relations between the Peoples’ Republic of China and The Republic of Somaliland, the Chinese Community in Somaliland plays a fundamental role in China-Somaliland relations, including promoting mutual cooperation and providing assistance to Chinese people in Somaliland. H.E. Ambassador Wei met the Chairman of the Chinese Community in Somaliland, Mr. Zhou Diandong (known locally as “Mr. David”) and its First Secretary Mr. Hassan Ismail. 

Chinese envoy to Somalia ambassador Wei made the Historic Chinese Visit Furthermore, the Ambassador exchanged views with Somaliland authorities on opportunities for future economic cooperation. To this end, First Secretary Ismail presented to Ambassador Wei a proposal for the 1st Annual China-Somaliland Forum for Economic Cooperation, to be held in China in the coming months. Summarizing the goals of the upcoming forum, First Secretary Ismail announced, 

“On this historic occasion, we are thrilled to bring together entrepreneurs, sector strategists, and government representatives to explore the mutual benefits of Chinese investment in Somaliland, a crucial Maritime Silk Road destination. We look forward to the 1st Annual China-Somaliland Forum for Economic Cooperation to be held in China in 2017.” 

Chinese envoy to Somalia ambassador Wei Hongtian at meeting with Chinese citizens resident in Somaliland Despite a decline in global trade volume, trade between China and Somaliland trade has maintained rapid growth. Somaliland features prominently on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, a strategic trade route guiding China’s “One Belt, One Road” development initiative, spearheaded by Chinese President Xi Jinping. H.E. Ambassador Wei asserted that the Chinese community looks forward to economic cooperation between China and Somaliland, indicating huge potential for further, mutual trade growth.

According to the Ambassador, Somaliland is well positioned to enhance its cooperation with China within the framework of this official development initiative. Following the visit of H.E. Ambassador Wei, the new Chinese Commercial Center (CCC) will open its doors in Hargeisa with a focus on cooperation between the economies of China and Somaliland, and serving as a point of secure and efficient trade.

Chinese envoy to Somalia ambassador Wei Hongtian poses with the president of China commercial Centre and Somaliland trade co Hassan Ismail after meeting in Hargeisa  Somaliland
The CCC, in addition to the upcoming China-Somaliland Forum, will each provide ample opportunities to revitalize and strengthen economic linkages between China and Somaliland. The support demonstrated by H.E. Chinese Ambassador Wei is crucial to success.

Somaliland trad Company for further details on the Chinese Community and activities in Somaliland kindly contact Hassan Ismail , President Of Somaliland Trade Company
Address: Airport Road, Masalaha Area, Hargeisa, Somaliland