UK Ambassador to Somalia Kate Foster visited Hargeisa on Tuesday this week to reaffirm UK’s partnership with Somaliland, including in trade and development.
In her first visit to Somaliland since her appointment in February, Foster joined President Muse Bihi in launching the main construction phase of the 22.5km Hargeisa bypass.
The UK-supported bypass will reduce the time and cost of transporting goods between Berbera Port and landlocked Ethiopia by addressing a strategic checkpoint on the Berbera corridor. The construction of the road will end in August 2022.
“In the construction phase, particular attention will be paid to climate proofing, ensuring the road is built to last. Protection of local heritage is also a key consideration, recognising the road’s proximity to the iconic Nasa Hablood hills – the symbol of Hargeisa city,” UK said in a statement.
The corridor is already facilitating the delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable communities in the wider region.
“The World Food Programme uses Berbera to bring 65% of its food aid into Ethiopia. With Ethiopia’s trade volumes projected to continue expanding, Berbera also represents an alternative for increasing trade and prosperity in the Horn of Africa,” the statement said.
UK Embassy in Mogadishu said Britain’s support will focus on more efficient cross border trade between Somaliland and Ethiopia. This will include the use of one-stop border posts, cargo tracking systems and efficient regulation at the border.
Somaliland President, Muse Bihi, said, “I would like to thank the UK and partners for their role in investing in Somaliland’s infrastructure to boost the economy, which will help in service delivery as well as create employment.”
On her part, Ambassador Foster said they are proud to support the Hargeisa bypass, which is a crucial part of the Berbera corridor.
“Once this 240 km project – in coordination with our Abu Dhabi and European partners – is completed late next year, it will improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people by creating jobs, unlocking the region’s economic potential and ease the delivery of humanitarian supplies,” she noted.
TradeMark East Africa Director of Trade Policy Eugene Torero said they are committed to continue implementing various initiatives to support Somaliland’s agenda in increasing trade with its neighbours, consequently creating jobs and helping reduce poverty.
“We are grateful for the continued support by the UK and the fruitful partnership with the Somaliland government which has ensured steady progress in the construction of this important road amidst many challenges.,” Torero said.