Hargeisa (THT) The one day UK and Somaliland co-hosted Investment Conference has urged investors to tap in into the huge opportunities existing in Somaliland’s rich agricultural and investment opportunities to create a thriving economy and reduce its dependency on aid.
Below are speeches at the conference led by The Head of State H.E. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamud Silanyo, SL and UK Ministers and a press statement released by the UK Government upon completion of the Conference in London.
Speech by the President at the conference
Excellencies and Ambassadors,
Ladies and gentleman,
I would like to tell you about a place, a nation in the Horn of Africa, a land the same size
of England and Wales combined yet little accurate information is known about it. This place is an oasis of calm in a turbulent region, it has many unique features which few know about, for example, it has benefitted from peace and stability for over twenty-three years; bundles of cash and valuables can be left in the middle of a busy market in its capital without fear of theft; successive peaceful and democratic elections have been held to elect Parliamentarians and Presidents. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
This land is also full of resources, from mountains of cement to one of the largest shipping ports in the Gulf of Aden connecting the Far East to the Middle East and the West, to having the longest runway in Sub-Sahara Africa. The growth potential of this nation is unprecedented, you will hear about the developing energy sector, from extractives to the abundance of renewable energy resources; you will also hear about
the growing financial sector and how through innovation, millions of people including many living in remote areas have access to mobile banking, which is slowing changing the economic landscape and banking sector of the nation; you will also be informed about the rich agricultural sector and the opportunities to diversify the nation’s export
potential beyond livestock.
I have the pleasure of being the President of this nation, my country, Somaliland is at a unique stage in its development, and has arrived at this point through two decades of
state-building and peace-building at the hands of constitutional, legitimate and democratically elected governments. My Government took on the mantle of leadership
following a fair and free election in 2010 and has since further strengthened government institutions, consolidated peace, and managed to keep terrorism and piracy at bay.
These foundations have created an environment where foreign direct investments can be implemented effectively and securely, with long-established Government bodies and experienced private sector groups to drive the process forward.
At the present stage, the Government’s primary commitment is transformational reform in key areas such as public financial management, justice, investment climate and security. We have ambitious plans across all these sectors. I hope that today’s event will provide you with genuine insights into the reality of doing business in Somaliland; its prospects as an investment destination, its current opportunities across a number of
sectors and the possibilities afforded in the near future. With dedicated investment in key industry sectors, Somaliland has the potential to not only survive but also thrive
despite its precarious location and the instability of its neighbour.
Somaliland takes pride in having embarked on a unique and uncharted course of bottom-up state-building that has far exceeded the expectations of the international
community. Spurred forward with the support of our international partners and foreign investors, I believe that Somaliland can be the model of what successful development
can look like in the Horn of Africa. We, the interested stakeholders, are at the cusp of fundamentally changing the future course of Somaliland’s development, now is the time
to act and I wholeheartedly encourage each and every one of you to give serious consideration to joining Somaliland on its journey towards becoming an alternative
regional hub in the Horn of Africa.
This Forum provides the perfect opportunity to showcase to international investors and the World that Somaliland is open for business, it has significant investment potential
across a number of sectors and regardless of what happens elsewhere, the prosperity and continued growth of Somaliland can be the legacy left behind by all of us sitting
here today. As a testament to how seriously my government views its trade and investment agenda, we are joined here today by my ministers of presidential affairs,
water, energy, foreign affairs, agriculture, trade and investment and national planning and development as well as our chamber of commerce, every major investor in-country, dozens of flourishing indigenous businesses and a strong technical support staff to answer your every question and encourage your investment.
I stand before you today to encourage you, the private sector and foreign investors, to reward and empower those people who have committed to the shared values of
peaceful coexistence and legitimate politics by visiting Somaliland and seeing first hand the wealth of investment potential, my nation beholds. Do use the formal and informal opportunities for meaningful discussion and networking today to listen, engage, ask and
follow-up on all the issues that pique your interest. Afterall, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Press release by UK government
UK and Somaliland today co-hosted a business forum to promote trade and investment opportunities in Somaliland.
The UK and Somaliland rallied businesses to make the most of Somaliland’s rich agricultural and investment opportunities to create a thriving economy and reduce its dependency on aid.
The UK and Somaliland rallied businesses to make the most of Somaliland’s rich agricultural and investment opportunities to create a thriving economy and reduce its dependency on aid.
The call to business was made at a conference, co-hosted in London by both governments, on trade and investment in Somaliland.
The UK delegation was led by the Foreign Office and Department for International Development’s Ministers, James Duddridge and Lynne Featherstone. The Somaliland delegation was led by President Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud Silanyo.
Attendees at today’s conference agreed that whilst the aid relationship will remain important, it will be business and investment that will prove increasingly important in creating jobs, sustainable growth and prosperity in Somaliland.
In Somaliland, where 63 per cent of men and 80 per cent of women between 25 and 34 years of age are unemployed, this need is particularly pressing.
Speaking at the event, Foreign Office Minister James Duddridge said:
The British Government is keen to build partnerships across Africa, and Somaliland is no exception. We want to help harness the power, the optimism and the drive of the people of Somaliland. We want to build on that and create a business environment which attracts inward investment, and which encourages the brightest talent in Somaliland to stay, and those who have left to return.
Department for International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone said:
Business will be central to Somaliland’s growth and development. It is already happening – Hargeisa teems with people starting new businesses and shops. It is only through investment, trade and jobs that Somaliland can reduce its dependence on aid and remittances. People want the opportunity to work their own way out of poverty. People want the dignity that comes with a job and being able to provide for their own family. And the people of Somaliland, with all their entrepreneurial potential, are no exception.
The UK Government remains committed to help build a more economically stable and prosperous future for Somaliland. UK aid supports areas such as health, education and strengthening public financial management and governance, and importantly is helping to rebuild crucial infrastructure and create jobs.
But much of Somaliland’s potential remains untapped. The rich agriculture and livestock sectors could produce goods with much higher added value. Businesses can play a vital role in growing these sectors, and others like services and manufacturing, through investment.
The UK and Somaliland have a close and long standing relationship. The UK opened an office in Hargeisa in 2012 and recent months have seen several high level visits in both directions, including by the previous Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, who visited in April this year.
DFID’s programme in Somalia has grown significantly over the last 4 years (from £40m to £105m). DFID is one of the main bilateral partners for Somaliland and is supporting a wide range of programmes including health, education, and the flagship Somaliland Development Fund, which is rebuilding much-needed infrastructure such as roads and water supply.
Read the statement from the original source
Speech by Hon. M.B. Yonis
MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS & INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
Excellencies and Ambassadors, Honourable Ministers, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentleman,
1. INTRODUCTION & SETTING THE SCENE.
I would like to take this opportunity in opening this historic event to provide a brief history lesson about the nation that brings us here today. Many of you may not know but British Somaliland was a protectorate within the British Empire from 1887 to 1960.
The friendly relations between the UK and Somaliland dates back well over a century and our close ties continue to this day. Following the independence of British Somaliland, the State of Somaliland came into existence as an independent and internationally recognized country on 26 June 1960. On independence, the State of Somaliland was recognized by over 30 UN member states including the UK. A few days after receiving its independence, the State of Somaliland decided to join the south, the former Italian Somaliland, to realize the vision of a greater Somalia.
Despite the best intentions of the Somali people, the democratically elected government was replaced by the military dictatorship of Said Barre who, for over 20 years, ruled through a widespread campaign of fear and oppression. The Barre regime’s brutal rule culminated in a bloody civil war that lasted years and in which over 50,000
Somalilanders lost their lives and over half million were displaced. The Somaliland people chose to withdraw from the union with Somalia and reassert their independence in 1991 after the civil war. That decision was confirmed in a 2001 referendum in which 97% of the participants voted for independence. For this reason, Somaliland is not part of the Federal State of Somalia.
While we understand that Somaliland’s sovereignty is not yet recognized de jure by the international community, the nation has functioned and thrived for over 20 years despite this and we are here to stay as an independent state.
2. HOW FAR SOMALILAND HAS COME
It is against this backdrop that I stand before you today. I am sure that for many of you, Somaliland requires no introduction; we have, after all, sitting in this audience, representatives from the Diaspora community and investors who have already established successful businesses in Somaliland.
3. CHALLENGES THAT EXIST
Despite the peace and security that exists in Somaliland today, our greatest challenge remains the nation’s status as an unrecognized state. It has created hurdles for the Government and its people. However, Somaliland’s status has also provided opportunities for innovation to address some of the challenges it faces. For example,
how would you address a growing population, with large numbers in remote areas, who
depend on remittances but have limited access to electricity and Internet connections?
The answer: mobile banking. By using innovative ideas, telecommunication companies
have been able to provide millions of Somalilander, regardless of their locations, with
access to money – a lifeline for many. Later on this afternoon, you will hear about
another challenge overcome through innovation. How do you reduce famine and create
income in a hostile climate with limited arable land? The answer: implementing projects
that use dry farming techniques to grow crops and vegetables.
Today Forum’s will give you a sneak peek into the opportunity that Somaliland has to
offer. The idea of investing in Somaliland may sound challenging, you may believe that
you will face a number of hurdles, however, we are here today to dispel your concerns,
answer your questions and introduce you to the exciting opportunities that investing in
Somaliland provides. I know you will find the information shared in the panels today
fascinating, and the learning does not have to end there, I invite each and every one of
you to see for yourself and visit Somaliland.
Finally, I would like to thank Her Majesty’s Government, the Foreign & Commonwealth
Office, the Department for International Development and Developing Markets
Associates for assisting with the planning, organization and implementation of today’s
wonderful conference. Without your efforts, we would not be in this beautiful venue,
with the opportunity to network, engage and creating lasting contacts all to encourage
the development of Somaliland’s economy through foreign direct investment in key
I would also like to thank you for your time and for participating in this crucial conference
which, I hope, has gone a long way into demystifying Somaliland, its history and current
state of affairs.
Speech by Chairman, Somaliland National Chamber of Commerce
The President of Republic of Somaliland, Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Siilaanyo), The UK and Somaliland Ministers, Parliamentarians of countries, the business community and other dignitaries present.
Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen.
Speaking on behalf of Somaliland business community and myself, I would like to thank the UK Government for agreeing to hold this event in London (The financial capital of the World). I would like to specially thank the UK minister for Africa, James Duddridge and his team for supporting this event all the way. I want to also thank DMA and its Chief Executive Mr Atam Sandhu for organizing this event in such a professional manner and for giving us a chance to meet so many global investors. I can’t forget Somaliland head of mission to the UK Mr. Ali Aden Awale and preparatory team for their untiring effort and guiding us to come here. To the investors, I have no suitable words to describe my feeling towards you, but let me say, thank you for giving us your precious time. I can understand how busy you are and the sacrifices you have made to attend this event. I promise we will share with you many investment opportunities available in Somaliland.
The Chamber of Commerce understands and appreciates the importance of this event. More than 45 of Somaliland’s business men and women from all sectors of trade are part of this delegation. They are the largest Somaliland business group to attend such event, thanks to leadership of President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo) and his cabinet.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The establishment of the Chamber of commerce goes back to 25the Oct 1993 under public law No: 35. As an independent entity owned by Somaliland business community,
Our vision is to strive new bonds of commercial and investment cooperation between Somaliland’s business community and rest of the world.
We offer guidance and assistance to the Somaliland business community and the investors as well through providing market information and organizing fair shows events and also trade directory annually. We protect for our members their names and brands.
The organizational chart is the General Assembly at the top, board of directors, Executive committee including chairman, two vice chairman, another four members and Secretary General.
We divide our members into five sectors depends on their categories and we have representatives in the main regions.
As our President has described now, there are so many hidden investment opportunities in Somaliland, which the time I have been given will not permit me to specify, but we have here a good number of Somaliland’s business leaders who are ready to go through many of these investment opportunities.
In conclusion, I believe while investment opportunities in the developed countries are few and returns are small, we want to welcome you to a place with a growing economy, lot of investment opportunities and greater returns.
As businessman, I know there are always some investment risks. So, I would like to remind you that the real businessman is always a risk taker, because the higher the risk in business, the greater the potential financial reward.
So I want to say loud and clear, those of you who are brave enough to invest early in Somaliland will find the deal of their lives.
We welcome you with open arms and open mind.
Mohamed Shukri Jama
Chairman of the Somaliland Chamber of Commerce
Speech by Ambassador Ali A. Awale
HE President, Ministers, Hon. Parliamentarians, British and International Businesses,
Somaliland Business and private sector, distinguished guests,
Firstly, let me thank everyone who is here today for taking part in this important forum.
Special thanks goes to the DMA team led by MrAtam, supported by Natalia, Rebecca,
Krystal, Chris and their colleagues in London and Nima, Sharmarke and their colleagues in Hargeisa who together worked hard in organizing this valuable event.
Today is a historic day for the government as well as the businesses sector in Somaliland. I believe it is also a good opportunity for international companies and frontier investors that are here today. We hope this will spearhead the modernization and reshaping of the economy of one of the true democracies in Africa, Somaliland.
Indeed, it is a day that will be remembered in the modern history of Somaliland as the day when our business community had the opportunity to network and join hands with
their international counterparts. We truly anticipate a positive outcome from this forum with long lasting mutual benefit for Somaliland and the international investors who
pursue the opportunity to invest in Somaliland.
Our strategic location, the commitment of our government to improve and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure; create attractive investment policies as well as our thriving
private sector; and the abundant untapped resources, long coast and easy access to the Gulf of Aden through the Berbera Port will undoubtedly appeal to many of the
foreign investors in the room today. My office here in London will guarantee to provide the best consular services for those of you who we hope will travel to our country for
follow up meetings or for fact finding visits.
I hope this day marks the beginning of a new page in the relationship between the business communities of Somaliland and UK and our friends and future investors from
around the globe.
By the end of today’s forum, I believe that you will all better understand that Somaliland
• Peace and democracy;
• Opposition to terrorism and piracy;
• Sustainable development and lasting prosperity; and
• Human rights and maintaining peaceful relations with other nations.