By: M.A. Egge
LONDON – H.E. President Ahmed Mohammed Silanyo had at the beginning of this year attended a special ceremony to launch Somaliland Development Corporation (SDC) at the Jubilee room. Portcullis House on the eve of the London Conference. The launching ceremony was attended by First Lady Amina Haji Mohamud Jirde (Amina Waris). Foreign Minister Hon. Mohammed Abdillahi Omar, Minister of Planning Hon. Dr. Sa’ad Shire and other dignitaries.

The Somaliland Development Corporation (SDC) has been set up to facilitate international investment in Somaliland for the benefit of the Somaliland people.

As a non-recognized State, foreign investors face considerable uncertainty about whether contacts – the basis of secure business – can be enforced or not. The SDC circumvents the problem of non-recognition by providing a transparent, accountable and enforceable means by which investors can participate in Somaliland ventures. A separate not-for-profit company has already been set up in the UK to act as the founding vehicle, with minister of State Dr. Mohammed Rashid Hassan, former Ambassador Myles Wickstead CBE and Jeremy Carver CBE as founder Directors.

The SDC is to be owned by an incorporated trust, the Somaliland Development Corporations Trust (SDC). The approved Somalilander and international Trustees with control the shared of the two SDC companies on behalf of the people of Somaliland. Each of the companies (for-profit and not- for-profit) with have its own board of directors. The Somaliland government and the political opposition will have seats on both boards.

The executive officers of each of the two constituent companies will consist of qualified staff assisted by advisory consultants.

Four main parties will deal with the SDC. 1) Doors, such as governments or international financial institutions. 2) Individuals, including members of the Diaspora. 3) Philanthropists. 4) Foreign companies wishing to invest in order to obtain a profit.

The founders of the SDC are cooperating with Crown Agents in the UK for the provision of banking services. The SDC will adopt a business plan which will set outs its aims and objectives in the short, medium and long term. This will be available on the SDC’s website.

The plan will be influenced by the development priorities of the Somaliland government and the views expressed by the boards and the SDC Trust.

The next steps include nominating trustees; marketing the SDC to potential donors, Investors, friends and philanthropic organization, and setting up the SDC Trust and the for-profit company. The timeline is between now and the second quarter of 2012.