UAE-based global ports operator DP World signed a final agreement with the Government of Dubai enabling it to develop an economic free zone at the Port of Berbera in Somaliland to support growth in East Africa, with construction expected to start this year, the ports company said.
“Our vision for Berbera is to make it a regional maritime hub in the Horn of Africa, and its development will encourage growth for the region’s economy and boost local prosperity with jobs for the people of Somaliland and future generations,” said DP World group chairman and chief executive Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem.
DP World signed a 30-year concession agreement to manage the Port of Berbera in May 2016. In September 2017, the port recorded a 40 per cent year-on-year increase in container volumes – the highest total volumes in the port’s history.
Located next to the port, the Berbera Free Zone (BFZ) is intended to support the growth of Berbera as a regional trading hub for East Africa and generate jobs, DP World said on Sunday.
The 12 square kilometre free zone is to be modelled on Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), the region’s biggest free zone, and will aim to attract investments and trade in the warehousing, logistics, manufacturing and related businesses.
DP World said it expects to break ground on the project this year.
“Developing a free zone will complement the growth of Berbera Port, enabling it to become a gateway for trade to the region and the whole of Africa,” said Saad Al Shire, Somaliland’s minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation.
“It will also generate jobs for the local population and encourage small and medium-sized companies in the area to locate their operations in an environment conducive to trade.”