GOOBJOOG NEWS|ADDIS ABABA: The UAE through its ports operator DP World will spend $1 billion in developing supply chain infrastructure along the Berber Corridor on the Ethiopian side to link with the port of Berbera in Somaliland.
DP World signed an MOU with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Transport Thursday that will see the Emirati owned company develop dry ports, silos, warehouses, container yards, cool and cold chain depots, freight forwarding and clearing activities.
“It is intended that for export, DP World will offer services from origin in Ethiopia up to Berbera Port, while for imports, it will offer from the port of loading to the delivery of shipments in one of the dry ports in the hinterlands or the final destination of the consignees,” a joint statement read in part.
The new deal happened two days after UK ambassador to Somalia Kate Foster flagged off the construction of the 22.5 kilometre Hargeisa by-pass which is part of the 240 km Berbera Corridor on the Somaliland side. The project is jointly funded by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and the UK’s Department for International Development.
The road which starts at the port of Berbera terminates at Wajaale town on the Ethiopian border.
SOMALILAND PORT CONCESSIONS
It was not however clear if the MoU covers the construction of the 696 kilometre road from Wajaale to Addis Ababa which is part of the grand Berbera Corridor. “As a leading global provider of trade and logistics solutions, we strongly believe that developing the Berbera Corridor into one of the major trade and logistics corridors will unlock huge economic benefits for Ethiopia, and support its ambitious development plans,” DP World Group Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said during the signing of the MoU in Addis Ababa on April 6.
DP World is currently running a $442 million Berbera Port upgrade which it secured in 2017 from the Somaliland government through a 30-year concession.
The new MoU bolsters UAE influence in the Horn of Africa region as it edges out its key competitor Qatar. Another UAE government-owned P&O Ports secured a 30 years concession to upgrade and run the port of Bosaso in Puntland at the cost of $336 million in 2017.
Qatar which has been at loggerheads with UAE courtesy of the Gulf Crisis is currently constructing the Mogadishu-Lower and Middle Shabelle regions highway at the cost of $200 million.