Published On: Sat, Dec 26th, 2009

Somaliland to contract French firm in running of major port

HARGEISA (Somalilandpress) — Somaliland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Abdillahi Mohamed Dualeh has stated that his administration was going to hand over the Berbera port to a French company in an effort to modernise the deep-water facility in the red sea to meet modern demands in the region.

Representatives from France’s ”Bolloré Africa Logistics” have been holding talks with senior Somaliland leaders, including the president in the last days.

Speaking to reporters in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa on Friday, Mr Duale said talks between Bolloré and Somaliland officials were in “advanced stages”.

“The organization has promised to invest in the port and manage it. We expect the talks between the organization and Somaliland officials to be successfully concluded,” Dualeh said.
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Sources in the government told Somalilandpress that the talks have successfully ended after more days of talks. “After days of discussions, the contract talks ended and the French firm will take over the Berbera port” the source, who wished not to be named. Bolloré held separate talks with Ethiopian officials as well including prime minister, Meles Zenawi.

The Berbera port was the second largest in the former Somali Republic after Mogadishu, but is now days it’s Somaliland’s prime source of currency owner, contributing 75 per cent of Somaliland’s $50 million annual revenue. Bolloré Africa Logistics is expected to take over the Berbera port with an investment worth $700 million.

This is the first major investment Somaliland has attracted since declaring independence from the rest of Somalia in 1991. Bolloré, which deals in maritime freight and African trade is controlled by Vincent Bolloré and is worth an estimated $1.7 billion.

The deal is expected to boost trades between Somaliland and Ethiopia’s 80 million population, whose expected to top 100 million people by 2020. The port currently handles food aid and other cargo bound for landlocked Ethiopia.

Berbera, at the mouth of the red sea, is strategically located on the oil route  and is ideal location for connecting Africa’s growing markets to the Middle East, Asia and Europe via the Suez Canal. Berbera port has 12-metre deep-water facility that was completed in 1969 by Russian engineers at a cost of $5.6 million.

In 1984, a US-based construction company, MWK International, was given 27 months contract worth $35 million that expanded and refurbish the port and airfield, which was already the longest runway in Africa. An American firm also refurbished the five 25000 barrel fuel tanks and pipelines. The fuel storage tanks are currently managed by a French company, Total.

[googleMap name="Berbera, Somaliland" description="Berbera has the longest runway in Africa built by Russia and USA for space shuttle emergencies." width="400" height="400" mousewheel="false" zoompancontrol="false" typecontrol="false" directions_to="false"]Berbera[/googleMap]

By Abdinasir Mohamed
Somalilandpress
Hargeisa-Somaliland

Displaying 31 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Faisal says:

    Great news. Berbera port has been mismanaged ever since liberation. Development of port facilities has been 0% from what I have witnessed. This is strange as the revenues from this port form most of the country's budget.

    If this company does take over management, Djibouti, whose port is run by the bankrupt Dubai World, will then have something to worry about. Competition is good.

  2. H.M.Obsiye says:

    I hope this deal comes through, since we have heard this kind of rumours many times before.

  3. Yonis says:

    Let's hope this contract is finalized and is benefited by the people of Somaliland and Ethiopia. They said too many times we got investment but we have yet to see any thing or anyone on the ground. Whatever happened to the $500-million so called power investment by German firms in Berbera that was also 'suppose' to restart Berbera's cement factory that was destroyed by retreating Siyad Bare forces in the 90s?

    If this turns out to be another rumours no one is ever going to believe or trust Rayale and his camp again – I advice Somaliland sites and international news portals to ignore them.

    Having said that, I hope the local people of Berbera understand they cant manage the port and compit with ports like Port of Djibouti, they need to make way for international firms and be open to the international market, it seems they are still behind.

    This is why Berbera had became a ghost town. Can it be revived by France?

    • AmericaBEEPYEAH says:

      Ethiopian Amhara are the only ones benefiting. They come with their weapons and other items but no one can search it for security reasons.

      Do you call that security? I hope not.

  4. Faisal says:

    Great news. Berbera port has been mismanaged ever since liberation. Development of port facilities has been 0% from what I have witnessed. This is strange as the revenues from this port form most of the country's budget.

    If this company does take over management, Djibouti, whose port is run by the bankrupt Dubai World, will then have something to worry about. Competition is good.

  5. ibrahim says:

    This current Somaliland Government has no legitimacy to negotiate in any capacity on behalf of Somaliland people.Its mandated time is long over, about a year and half ago.This government is better off to stay in its lameduck mode until a new government chosen by people comes to office.It has nothing, nothing to show as accomplishment for seven and half years it has been in office. It is inept and morally corrupt.

  6. Duale says:

    Typically African mentality; we can't do it, so call in the Europeans. We will be robbed blind with this deal. If we allow this illegal deal to occur, we will no longer maintain sovereignty over who can enter our nation by sea or what they bring to Somaliland. Why do some Somalilanders think this is a good idea? No average Somalilanders will benefit from this. 99% of revenue will go to the French with remaining 1% being divided by corrupt government officials to finance their addiction to LandCruisers and second woves while the average Somalilander continues to live in poverty, either in the fatherland or abroad.

  7. yassin says:

    the so called investment contract is unlikely to happen, in my view, a country which its budget is 50 million,which goes from crisis to crisis and internationaly unrecognized together with poor leadership is unlikely to gain such a massive investment.

    we are neither investment destination nor predictable people.

  8. Mohamed says:

    Thanks to this Somalilandpress writer for letting us know this.

  9. Dr J H Elmi says:

    Thanks for all those posted comments. Thanks to Somaliland press for the report. The is being negotiated. I can understand some peaple's comments and negative criticism towars the current goverment. I belief they could have done a lot for the public's Infrastructure, Health and Education, which is suffering the most. However, it is good to be possitive. We need to move on, develop, progress and constructively criticise when appropriate. If this deal goes through, it is the bigest investment type deall since liberation of Somaliland. Also recently Saudis and many Many Middle Eastern countries have re-opened the long awaited livestock export from Somaliland. This is another major milestone crossed by Somaliland at a crutial time.
    Pls read more – see next comment……………….

  10. Dr J H Elmi says:

    In terms of the management issues by a European country, we all know that when to manage a major port or a major facility for that matter, you need people who are trained well, have a working and organizational knowledge, who can run and compete with the rest of Eastern Africa. Although I agree, outsiders – in this case the French company – will always work to their advantage, I also know that at present we don’t have the means to properly manage it. Perhaps, we can be part of the management and running steering of the facility and slowly in the future take over to run it ourselves. As for now I don’t think we are ready yet.

  11. dr J H Elmi says:

    May advice to my brothers and sisters in Somaliland is; to be patient, think positively, contribute to the country in any way you can, learn to constructively criticize, turn negative energy into a positive one when we know it is difficult, and hope the best for this great nation of Somaliland

    Thank you .

    • Yonis says:

      I totally agree with your Dr Elmi, way to go, people need to remain positive and give others a chance, we are in a moment of turbalance that we do not control nor manage, we have to grab opportunities as they come and keep knocking on doors. Ask your self, while Bollore proposed deal might not be 100% for the people, isnt it not better than the $37+ million it is annually bringing in now? At the current base ($37m p.a.) it would take Berbera to make the proposed $700m, more than 18 years?

      How long is this $700 contract for? At the moment Berbera makes peanuts compared to the neighbouring ports such as Port of Djibouti, that Ethiopia pays $722.5 million annually which counts for 80-90% of the usage of the port. Its managed by Dubai World. The port of Mombasa managed by Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa is gettin a facelift worth $239.3 million – what chance does Berbera locals have?

  12. Yonis says:

    Wa iska hadashiin uun idinkoo wax ka ogeen aduunka, if someone is given a contract or brought on board in your minds your automatically ripped off well this is how the world runs, its run by multinational corporations, its called globalization, if your not happy to be part of it then stop asking for "international recognition", International recognition means to be part of the global market, and if Bollore comes on board we are part of the global market, we don't need recognition.

  13. Duale says:

    You are no different from other Africans…Somaliland has failed. I am a Somalilander, but Walahi when I see how pathetic our people's thinking is, how they have no self-confidence, how much they dislike educated Somalilanders and Somaliland youth from abroad trying to assist their homeland on one hand and how much Somalilanders love foreigners doing nothing and being paid for it on the other, I as a Somalilander seriously feel that we are not ready to become a recognized nation. What's the point? We'd probably just let France or Ethiopia or Saudi Arabia run our country anyway right?

  14. Duale says:

    What is negative about saying that our own people should first be educated and then allowed to run our own affairs? Yonis, people like you sit around and do nothing hoping that foreigners will fix everything; that is the probably with Somaliland, and indeed the entire continent of Africa.
    Hassan on the other hand speaks like a man with reason. Yonis though must be an agent for the French businessmen.

    • Yonis says:

      Your not even from Somaliland bro, as our neighbour your welcome to have your say but don't lie to your self be claiming something your not just for the sake of 4lies. Nevertheless I see Somaliland getting an investment burns you, so much hate, none wrong with Somalilanders doing a thing for their country, millions are already doing that, I dont have to remain them of that, they are already champions in my eyes.

  15. Hassan says:

    I just hope that the contract is beneficial and not detrimental to the interests of Somaliland.

  16. Duale says:

    Somaliland will never be recognized because of people like you. Seeing as you have never left Somaliland and have never seen any non-Somali, the prospect of other people coming to rule over your most important city is exciting to you.

    P.S. A man your age should not be trying to dress like a gangster. Get a job, some self-respect, and an English For Beginners book.

    • Yonis says:

      Getting bit sensitive and personal there, to be honest I was never expecting any better for someone who isnt even true to their heart for the sake of "puntlander4lies" xD

      Chill out bro, no need to get all emotional. Share the people with your views even if your from our neighbouring state, your entitle to have your say without been negative and getting all sick because Berbera is about to get major boost.

      • nuuradiin says:

        somaliland development is takes place in nowadays is moving in more fasten when it compared with previous activities that somaliland governmental did but now somaliland leader makes some inspiration of the development that activities will encourage the economic of the country with increases job opportunity of the somaliland people to get the chance to work for that place like barbare port is one pillars of the somaliland economic so that its need to increase the their activities because most of the production is that place and our livestock

  17. wiil-waal says:

    just wait and see i swear ethiopia is planing to take over (somaliland) just like they did taking over Eritrea back in the 50's brothers let face the reality intaad somalida naceyb tihiin waligiin mel magaareysaan when ogadeniya is an independent state who's gonna make business with ya?

  18. Dr Elmi says:

    Please post constructive notes, dont be emotional and sensitive, This is a sign of ignoranceand narrowmindedness. Express your views freely, respect other's views and learn from each other's comments. If you disagree, you can always agree to disagree. Some of the major problems with us are – ungrounded sensiivity, lack of respect for each other, tribalism, narrow mindedness and lack of lateral thinkingness, shor tfused reactions. I think you are all speaking of one interest, one nation, one country, one ppl. Jill out, and please please please EDUCATION is the most important element that can get Somaliland, somalis and Somalia out of darkness and into success. Thank you all.

    • Yonis says:

      I agree with your Dr Elmi, I blame this sort of behaviour the old Somali regime because they did not encourage discussion forums, debates and literal views and thinking, with them every thing was my way my gun. But now that we have departed from that camp, we should at least practice to have open discussions and literal views without being rude, sensitive or personal. So I encourage Somalilanders not to behave like the old camp.

  19. ina cali says:

    I would love if Somaliland had moved on from the limbo that it’s in. in fact I would welcome any investment in the country but I do not believe that this generation of politicians whether they are in government or opposition have or are capable of protecting the interest of this nation therefore I would be reluctant to hand over the live line of the nation I hate to be cynical but there are shark out there, in this so called negations, jobs will not be protected and with that what skills we had would cease to exist just like the Arabs that are rich in oil but have to rely on importing refined oil or Ethiopia paying coffee that grows in their country after it packaged for them. They will sing a long term contract and that large sum of money every one is concentrating on will be given in small amounts.

  20. Mohamed says:

    I would like to see the conditions that come with it if a deal is reached, I live in London and I can see how business deals are made and whenever Africans do business with the west there Is always conditions on the table which don’t get mentioned in the media by the deal brokers other than that it’s great news for Somaliland and hope the money is well spent on top priorities i.e. education, medicals etc ………. Long Live Somaliland Amiiiiin
    Boorama saluuuuuuuuuuuuuute

  21. Barca says:

    you have sold your soul to the devil ethiopia while your brothers and sisters are killed in somalia by ethiopia. shame on you

  22. Omar says:

    Ppl think somaliland is better so pure bull****.What have the government done for the ppl. Corrupt police, no health system the list go on. The thing is almost everything or everything that is built, developt, sold are by the somali ppl not governments from both sides. Well at least Puntland have teachers that are being paid by the government. The Somaliland government spend more money on military then everything else combined i mean who is going to attack and take over the country, pirates? The small Somaliland have an “army” bigger then most African nations. I mean come on we want roads, hospitals not 30 year old tanks and guns. Im just gone quote the line of “no im not somalian im west african” like the most of us young do. Meaningless of fighting things that we do not have. I hope Allah we’ll save us

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