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Somaliland secures record $442m foreign investment deal
DP World's interest in this little-known fishing town is largely explained by its location, sitting conveniently at the apex of trade routes in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and East Africa.
"The Horn of Africa is a fast growing region with some of the fastest growing economies in the world," says DP World CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem. "DP World Berbera builds on growth in the region where we are enabling trade."
The location also offers opportunities to landlocked Ethiopia, which is heavily reliant on neighboring Djibouti, with 90% of trade passing through the tiny state.
Ethiopia currently imports limited quantities of food through Berbera, but the imminent development will allow it to vastly scale up traffic through the port.
The Somaliland government claims it has an agreement for Ethiopia to take a 19% share of the port, which should deliver mutual benefits.
"Ethiopia having access to the sea is a major deal for Somaliland, and Ethiopia," says Laura Hammond, an East Africa specialist at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.
"Ethiopia has already built a road up to the border with Somaliland basically advertizing the fact that they're waiting to do business."
For its part, Somaliland will gain a powerful partner and ally. Ethiopia is one of the most dynamic economies in Africa, the host nation of the African Union, and a key driver of international diplomacy.
After two decades in the economic and political wilderness, the unrecognized state may finally be establishing itself on the world stage.