Somalilandsun: On 11th November, DMA hosted their first engagement with the government of Somaliland since 2014, in partnership with Guul Group. With a prominent panel this event explored Somaliland’s trade and investment potential, as a vibrant and attractive market for FDI.
The virtual Event supported by DP World, Rio Architects and the Ambassador Hotel pooled over two hundred participants from within and all over the world among them citizens in the Diaspora and international investors intent on the Somaliland market.
The panel was composed of Atam Sandhu, Chief Executive, DMA – Stuart Brown, The Head of the British Office in Hargeisa – HE. Abdi Hersi, Head of Mission, Somaliland Mission to the UK
While Keynote Addresses: – Lord Sheikh, Baron Sheikh of Cornhill in the City of London (Katie McCoshan), Hon. Mohamed Ahmed Mohamoud (Awad), Minister of Investment Promotion,Sir Henry Bellingham, Chairman DMA Invest, Hon. Dr Saad Ali Shire Minister of Finance, Damon Bristow, Development Director Horn of Africa FCDO, Phillip Corper Finance and Investment Director SOGEEL, Hon. Hinda Jama Hersi Gaani, Minister of Employment and Family Affairs, Hon. Mohamoud Hassan Saad, Minister of Commerce Industries, Supachai Wattana veerachai, CEO DP World Berbera, Guled Harun Ibrahim Chief Executive Guul Group, Lauren McEvatt, Advisory Board DMA , Hon. Mohamed Ahmed Mohamoud (Awad), Minister of Investment Promotion, Dr. Edna Adan Ismail Founder and Chief Executive Edna Hospital, Hon. Jama H. Mohamoud Egal, Minister of Mining and Energy, Angus Miller Lead, Horn of Africa (Prosperity Fund), FCDO, Michel Botzung Manager for Former Conflict States, IFC/World Bank Group
10:40–10:50 Q&A Session – Hon. Dr Saad Ali Shire, Minister of Finance – Katie McCoshan, Associate, DMA
This marked DMA’s 120th event, with over 200 registrants, four senior ministers, and close to 440 views post-event on YouTube (at the time of writing, 13/11/20). In the run up to, and during the event, over 50 questions were submitted by the audience. Although a number of large well-capitalised businesses from the UK were well represented, a number of the audience were from the Diaspora (which Stuart referred to in his opening as a ‘human bridge’).
Stuart Brown’s opening remarks set the scene with enthusiasm for the entrepreneurial nature of Somaliland’s private sector and was a natural link between the 2014 and 2020 events. Furthermore, he set out how the country’s security and connectivity provide an attractive business climate in strategic sectors. HE Abdi Hersi outlined how the Somaliland Mission in the UK could provide consular help and business advice.
Drawing on his experience in Africa, and East Africa, Lord Sheikh discussed the strength of the relationship between the UK and Somaliland, the potential for Islamic Finance, sustainable investments and the development of Berbera Port as a catalyst for growth. The Minister of Investment Promotion echoed this, outlining key opportunities in agriculture, fisheries, energy, financial services and production, for the benefit of investors, the people of Somaliland and the environment.
The first panel was going to have been chaired by Sir Henry Bellingham, but due to some connectivity issues within the UK, Katie McCoshan stepped in and steered an excellent content-rich first session for the event.
This panel explored Somaliland’s trade and investment potential, as a vibrant and attractive market for FDI. Dr Saad Ali Shire, Minister of Finance, discussed Somaliland’s growth rates and took a deep dive into the government’s priority sectors, emphasising Somaliland’s potential to be a gateway, not just into the country but into the wider region. Damon Bristow, FCDO, and Phillip Corper, SOGEEL, gave an insight into the work of the UK government and USAID in supporting businesses in this market. Hon. Hinda Jama Hersi Gaani, Minister of Employment and Family Affairs, highlighted the government’s commitment to investors, employment laws and the quality of human capital in Somaliland.
As the biggest private sector investor in Somaliland, the Spotlight on Berbera Port showcased DP World’s impressive $442m investment into the country and their future plans. Their long-term mindset is reflected in their focus on sustainability, local education and training.
GUUL Group announced their GUUL Grown investment platform, which is a one-stop-shop for anything trade and investment related in Somaliland, and their ambition to facilitate $100m into the country.
The second panel was expertly chaired by Lauren McEvatt, an Advisory Board member for DMA. A particular highlight was Dr. Edna Adan Ismail, who as a former Finance Minister, gave a passionate list of reasons why Somaliland should be the first choice for any business.
The Minister of Mining and Energy highlighted the potential in the energy sector, and the Minister of Finance spoke in more detail on the services provided by the Ministry to support investors. Angus Miller, emphasised the work of the FCDO in Somaliland and the importance of developing soft infrastructure, alongside hard infrastructure developments, such as the Berbera Port. Michel Botzung concluded the session with a brilliant presentation on why Somaliland is a jewel in the region and the importance of working together.
The Q&A session featured the Minister of Finance. There was only time to answer a selection of the audience’s questions, covering Somaliland’s sovereignty, the blue economy, Islamic finance and the Berbera Port.
DP World, the Ambassador Hotel and Rio Architects were the event sponsors while www.SomalilandSun.com was the media coordinator.