DP World launches expansion of port in Somaliland

The soporific seaside town of Berbera is slowly transforming as it takes on a major role on the Red Sea shipping route, allowing breakaway Somaliland to dream of prosperity and even recognition. (AFP)
Updated 12 October 2018

DP World launches expansion of port in Somaliland

  • Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 and has acted as a de-facto independent state since then but is not internationally recognized
  • DP World said the first phase of expansion will consist of constructing a 400-meter quay as well as the development of a free-zone

HARGEYSA: Dubai state-owned port operator DP World has launched a $101 million project to expand a port in the breakaway region of Somaliland.
Somaliland broke away from Somalia in 1991 and has acted as a de-facto independent state since then but is not internationally recognized. The United Arab Emirate’s Dubai government owns DP World.
The port in Berbera exports camels to the Middle East and imports food and other items, but Somaliland hopes it will provide an alternative for neighboring Ethiopia — a landlocked country of 100 million which relies on Djibouti for its trade.
DP World said the first phase of expansion will consist of constructing a 400-meter quay as well as the development of a free-zone, with Emirati firm Shafa Al Nahda the contractor.
“This investment in Berbera ... and the expansion is of a huge benefit for Somaliland to develop its economy. We are thinking to be competitive with our ports in the region,” Muse Bihi Abdi, the breakaway region’s president, told journalists.
The first phase is part of an expansion deal signed with DP World in 2016 and worth a total of $442 million.
DP World’s chairman and chief executive Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said Berbera would serve Ethiopia’s expanding economy and its increasing trade.
“We did not get assurances from them. (But) they need every port capacity in Ethiopia. It is only a matter of opening the port and making sure the road is there,” he said in a news conference.
But the launch comes amid opposition from Somalia, which believes its sovereignty is being violated. Senior officials have said such deals “bypassed the legitimate authority” of Mogadishu.
Bihi Abdi dismissed the claim. He said agreements with such international firms would boost the country’s quest to achieve international recognition.
“Because when DP World came to Berbera, there was attention from other countries and big business companies because most of them were thinking that Somaliland was not a recognized country and ignored the peace and stability in Somaliland,” he said in a news conference in Hargeysa.
“DP World was a big, international company which dared to come to Somaliland and I hope a lot of other companies from any continent will follow their path and come to Somaliland.”


Iran rial slides to new low as coronavirus, sanctions weigh

Updated 04 July 2020

Iran rial slides to new low as coronavirus, sanctions weigh

  • The dollar was offered for as much as 215,500 rials, softening from 208,200 on Friday
  • The rial lost about 70% of its value in the months after May 2018 as Iranians snapped up dollars

DUBAI: The Iranian rial fell to a new low against the US dollar on the unofficial market on Saturday, as the economy comes under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic and US sanctions.
The dollar was offered for as much as 215,500 rials, softening from 208,200 on Friday, according to foreign exchange site Bonbast.com. The economic daily Donya-e-Eqtesad’s website gave the dollar rate as 215,250, compared with 207,500 on Friday.
In May 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from a multilateral deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program and reimposed sanctions that have since battered the economy.
A drop in oil prices and a slump in the global economy have deepened the economic crisis in the country, which also has the highest death toll in the Middle East from the pandemic.
The rial’s decline has continued despite assurances from Iranian Central Bank Governor Abdolnaser Hemmati last week that the bank had injected hundreds of millions of dollars to stabilize the currency market.
The rial lost about 70% of its value in the months after May 2018 as Iranians snapped up dollars, fearing Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal and sanctions could shrink vital oil exports and severely impact the economy.
The official exchange rate is 42,000 rials per dollar and is used mostly for imports of state-subsidised food and medicine.