NAIROBI, KENYA: Somaliland has opened its gates for Kenyan investors to venture into their country.
The country's Foreign affairs and international cooperation minister Yasin Mohammed Hiir said his country is interested in opening its doors on foreign investors keen in not only trading with Somaliland but also creating opportunities for the growing youthful population looking for jobs and business opportunities.
In his remarks during the Somaliland Investment Conference in Nairobi on Friday, Hiir said there is great opportunity for trade and investment in Somaliland.
“Kenya and Somaliland share so much in common. We have a historical bond that needs to be nurtured so as to empower our people through trade and investment,” said Hiir during the conference organised by the Somaliland liaison office in Nairobi.
“Whilst Kenya is advanced in many aspects and is a lead country in this region and continent, Somaliland is a nascent and emerging jurisdiction. For the time being, Somaliland is a net importer of nearly everything we consume. It therefore beats logic that Somaliland should import what it can get from Kenya next door from countries as far as in the South American continent,” he observed.
“Come, you are our brothers. Come work with us in building the great nation of Somaliland by investing. We have the opportunities in abundance,” Hiir said.
And Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice chairman James Mureu responded: "We are ready to do business with you."
Hiir said Kenya and Somaliland should reinforce their pursuit for mutual interest on the basis of shared vision and common values. “We need to expand cross border trade and investments between our two countries for mutual gain”.
“The large numbers of Kenyan citizen who are working and living in Somaliland as well as the businesses that have been established in Somaliland are testimonies of our attractiveness and hospitality. This in essence necessitates a reciprocal action of some sort from the Kenyan side so we can expand these gains. We can have a convergence between our objectives and priorities in order to increase prosperity for our citizens through enhanced trade and investment,” said the minister.
He said the government of Somaliland is interested in trade and investments, financial integration, free movement of goods, services and people, education and student mobility, small micro enterprises tourism and hospitality.
Other areas he said the country was interested in partnering is digital economy and connectivity, blue economy, innovation, science and technology.
“Our diplomatic and trade missions are tasked with identifying, facilitating and supporting new and prospective business and investment opportunities by providing critical information, timely and efficient consular services and linkages with Somaliland.
“The increasing interest in investment prospects in various sectors in Somaliland and the upturn in fortunes such as tripartite investment in expanding and modernising the Berbera port and Berbera corridor, the multi-million dollar project investments such as the Coca Cola plant, fibre optic cable and the large exploration works by international oil and gas companies is clear indication that Somaliland is becoming attractive to foreign investors,”
The minister said Somaliland diplomatic missions like the liaison office in Nairobi have been upgraded to provide the nexus of business, public policy and public opinion and avail strategic guidance to business in Kenya.
The one day Somaliland Investment Forum was organised to showcase the investment opportunities available in Somaliland to Kenyan investors.
Top Somaliland government officials, businessmen and Kenyan businessmen attended the forum.
James Mureu, the KNCCO vice chair said in order to realise the dream for Pan Africanists, there should be free trade on Africa.
"Our fathers who fought for our freedom had a vision which was to see us trade and work together. If we are going to achieve that dream we must walk in the direction to have the continental free trade agreement operational," said Mureu.
Somaliland representative to Kenya Omar Bashe said Kenya must tap into the opportunities available from Somaliland. He said it is unfortunate there are no direct flights from the national carrier Kenya Airways to Somaliland capital Hargeisa adding that there is so much Kenya can export to Somaliland but that remains untapped.