The government of Somalia and Ethiopia have launched a US $400m road project that will link Ethiopia’s border town of Togochale to Berbera Port in Somalia.
Speaking during the launch ceremony, Somaliland’s President Muse Bihi Abdi said the road will provide access for landlocked Ethiopia to an additional seaport and significantly boost trade between the two countries. It is estimated Somaliland imports to Ethiopia is worth over the US $800m annually.
The 72 kilometer-road is an ambitious and strategic road project that will also enable Somaliland to benefit greatly from the winds of change blowing across the Horn of Africa. The agreement calls for infrastructure investment to upgrade the existing Berbera Port and to build a new adjacent Container Port. It is projected to take 18 months to be complete.
For his part, Mustafa Mohammed Omar, the regional deputy President of Ethiopia’s Somali Region said the Berbera-Togochale corridor was instrumental in facilitating import-export trade for Ethiopia’s growing economy.
The road projects is being funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development. The two countries had earlier in 2018 signed a joint venture agreement for the Berbera seaport while Dubai held 51% of shares.
The Dubai Ports World launched the construction work of the Berbera port and signed a 30-year concession agreement to administer the port which is located on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden. The expansion will lead to the capacity of the port increase by 50%.
Meanwhile, Ethiopia has been playing a unique role in the realization of infrastructural driven economic integration and deploying peace enforcing missions in various hot spots of the continent. The country took a wise step to end hostilities and pursue an economic and political partnership that is heralding a new era of good neighborliness in the Horn of Africa and beyond.