Somalilandsun- The uproar raising announcement that Ethiopia Owns 19% of the Berbera port is an arrangement between Addis Ababa and DP World.
This was informed by the Somaliland foreign minister Dr Saad Ali Shire during an interview with Geeska Afrika in which he gave details of this arrangement that has elicited much public interests.
According to the FM shareholders in the Berbera Port management and operations contract worth $422m spanning
30 years conceded to the Emiratis firm are DP World holding as well as the governments of Somaliland and Ethiopia.
Mid this month officially started implementing its contractual obligations at the Berbera port following approval by the Somaliland parliament that was preceded by agreement between Hargeisa and Abu Dhabi based authorities.
On the issue of anticipated impact to Somaliland as pertains the just concluded London conference on Somalia, the FM was emphatic that the meeting was solely of interest to Somalia thence outcomes negligible to Somaliland.
Verbatim excerpts of the interview
Geeska Afrika: Minister as you are aware a recent revelation by your colleague at the commerce portfolio subsequently confirmed by presidential spokesperson, to the effect that Ethiopia owns 19% of the Berbera port management contract awarded DP World has and still is raising uproar within a confused citizenry.
Is it true and if so can you elaborate on this intriguing outcome?
Foreign Minister: It is true that Ethiopian Federal authorities have a stake in the Berbera port concession awarded DP World a global port management firm owned by the Emirati government.
Initially the principal shareholder of the Berbera port contract was DP World at 65% and Somaliland with the balance of 35% that a total of 100%.
Being it so, it became imperative that Ethiopia which is among major port utilizers be involved in the DP World concession thence awarded 19% of the shares availed from 14% and 5% deducted from those of DP World and Somaliland respectively.
That being so and as par status now , DP World is still the principal shareholder with 51%, Somaliland 30% and Ethiopia with 19%.
To clear the air on the misconstrued notion that this translates to Ethiopia earning 19% of profits accrued from the 30 year contract, the public should put their justifiable fears to rest since this means that authorities in Addis Ababa are to invest the awarded percentage from the $422m total of the contract
Q- According to the final communique from the just London conference on Somalia, the international community recommends that talks between authorities in Hargeisa and Mogadishu resume immediately after Somaliland presidential elections slated for November this year.
Having seen numerous postponements what is your take, if the presidential elections are not held as planned?
A- Elections or no elections Somaliland is always ready for the talks whenever Somalia is ready.
Q- What is the impact on Somaliland from the 2017 London conference on Somalia?
A- Somalilamd had nothing to do with this conference which was entirely one concerning Somalia and as you are aware the only mention of our country in the final communique was on the issue relating to talks resumption.
So in a nutshell the impact to Somaliland is, Zilch!
Q- Are there any negative changes in Somaliland’s international relations?
A- Apart from enhancement of this relations with our international partners am not appraised of any deterioration
Q- According to the UN secretary General Antonio Guterres continued delays in presidential and parliamentary elections
Quote “is steadily eroding the promise of increased credibility that Somaliland held internationally” unquote
Minister What is your take on the UNSGs allegations?
A- While acknowledging that we have postponed elections due to circumstances beyond anybody’s control, the democratization process that has seen Somaliland hold five successful transparent and fair elections is not only thriving but a model for many african countries.
Compared to many countries that never hold elections to say that Somaliland is losing international credibility just because it postponed its elections is unjustifiable.
We postponed presidential ballot due to severity of the drought in the country and if this is not justification enough then nothing is. So Why shouldn’t the IC wait for November before condemnations?