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South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai is the latest multinational company to venture into the Horn of Africa via Somaliland.

Hyundai launched its fleet of cars in Somaliland joining Coca Cola as the world-renowned companies that have invested in the country that is seeking to gain international recognition.

The South Korean car manufacturer has partnered with Dahabshiil group of companies to not only introduce Hyundai model of cars to Somaliland but also to the horn of Africa region whose economy has become vibrant thanks to the growing international interest.

“This Hyundai automotive business is not going to be limited to Somaliland, but aims at Horn region as a whole,” Dahabshiil Motors Chief Executive Officer Engineer Awil Sharif said in an interview.

SEE ALSO: Somalia and breakaway state Somaliland hold talks

Shariff said the entry of the Korean company into Somaliland and the Horn of Africa region is vital given the economic developments that have been taking place within.

“Ongoing developmental projects in the country such as the DP World’s expansion of Berbera port together with the approved plan to create a free trade zone plus the construction of Berbera corridor highway - connecting Berbera port to the landlocked regions of neighboring Ethiopia, we are quite optimistic that the entry of Hyundai will have great impact in the motoring industry. Furthermore, our strategic plan includes expanding the business to other Somali regions and East Africa as early as practically possible,” he added.

Sharif said they have introduced eight models into the country.

The eight models include Grand Santa Fe, Santa Fe, Tuscon, Creta, Elantra, Grand i10, a 14 seater Commercial Bus, and Light Track.

“Most countries in Africa bring four or five models. We started with eight models and will bring more models in the future depending on the customers’ demand.”

The entry of Hyundai in Somaliland comes just six months after the company opened a 10,000-a-year vehicle capacity assembly plant in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on, its first factory in East Africa.

“This plant is big enough (to assemble) for Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and Sudan,” said Haile Gebrselassie, the former Olympian-turned businessman during the official launch.

Ethiopia produces around 10,000 commercial and other vehicles a year for its home market. It imported more than 40,000 cars in 2017, automobile traders say.

The Hyundai Company operates the largest integrated automobile manufacturing facility in Ulsan, South Korea, which has an annual production capacity of 1.6 million units. The company employs about 75,000 people worldwide. Hyundai vehicles are sold in 193 countries through some 5,000 dealerships and showrooms.

Dahabshiil Motors who are the sole distributors of Hyundai vehicles in Somaliland and Somali regions are offering direct purchase and bank financing.

“The vehicles can be purchased through Murabaha (the Islamic financing bank system,” stated the CEO

“Our partnership with Hyundai is based on a collaborative effort, sharing the value of the products and services in a way that can help us meet the highest standards of customer satisfaction.”

The entry of Hyundai in Somaliland comes at a time when the country’s Ministry of transportation authority announced it would ban imported right-hand drive vehicles by 2020. The Government of Somaliland is also taking drastic steps to ensure safety on the country’s roads and reduce the effects of vehicle emissions created by unroadworthy cars.

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