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Speech of President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud Silanyo at the UK-Somaliland Trade and Investment Forum

Excellencies and Ambassadors,

Honorable Ministers,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentleman,

I would like to tell you about a place, a nation in the Horn of Africa, a land the same size of England and Wales combined yet little accurate information is known about it.  This place is an oasis of calm in a turbulent region, it has many unique features which few know about, for example, it has benefitted from peace and stability for over twenty-three years; bundles of cash and valuables can be left in the middle of a busy market in its capital without fear of theft; successive peaceful and democratic elections have been held to elect Parliamentarians and Presidents.  And this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

 

This land is also full of resources, from mountains of cement to one of the largest shipping ports in the Gulf of Aden connecting the Far East to the Middle East and the West, to having the longest runway in Sub-Sahara Africa.  The growth potential of this nation is unprecedented, you will hear about the developing energy sector, from extractives to the abundance of renewable energy resources; you will also hear about the growing financial sector and how through innovation, millions of people including many living in remote areas have access to mobile banking, which is slowing changing the economic landscape and banking sector of the nation; you will also be informed about the rich agricultural sector and the opportunities to diversify the nation’s export potential beyond livestock. 

 

I have the pleasure of being the President of this nation, my country, Somaliland is at a unique stage in its development, and has arrived at this point through two decades of state-building and peace-building at the hands of constitutional, legitimate and democratically elected governments.  My Government took on the mantle of leadership following a fair and free election in 2010 and has since further strengthened government institutions, consolidated peace, and managed to keep terrorism and piracy at bay.  These foundations have created an environment where foreign direct investments can be implemented effectively and securely, with long-established Government bodies and experienced private sector groups to drive the process forward.

 

At the present stage, the Government’s primary commitment is transformational reform in key areas such as public financial management, justice, investment climate and security.  We have ambitious plans across all these sectors.  I hope that today’s event will provide you with genuine insights into the reality of doing business in Somaliland; its prospects as an investment destination, its current opportunities across a number of sectors and the possibilities afforded in the near future.  With dedicated investment in key industry sectors, Somaliland has the potential to not only survive but also thrive despite its precarious location and the instability of its neighbour.

 

Somaliland takes pride in having embarked on a unique and uncharted course of bottom-up state-building that has far exceeded the expectations of the international community.  Spurred forward with the support of our international partners and foreign investors, I believe that Somaliland can be the model of what successful development can look like in the Horn of Africa.  We, the interested stakeholders, are at the cusp of fundamentally changing the future course of Somaliland’s development, now is the time to act and I wholeheartedly encourage each and every one of you to give serious consideration to joining Somaliland on its journey towards becoming an alternative regional hub in the Horn of Africa. 

 

This Forum provides the perfect opportunity to showcase to international investors and the World that Somaliland is open for business, it has significant investment potential across a number of sectors and regardless of what happens elsewhere, the prosperity and continued growth of Somaliland can be the legacy left behind by all of us sitting here today.  As a testament to how seriously my government views its trade and investment agenda, we are joined here today by my ministers of presidential affairs, water, energy, foreign affairs, agriculture, trade and investment and national planning and development as well as our chamber of commerce, every major investor in-country, dozens of flourishing indigenous businesses and a strong technical support staff to answer your every question and encourage your investment.

 

I stand before you today to encourage you, the private sector and foreign investors, to reward and empower those people who have committed to the shared values of peaceful coexistence and legitimate politics by visiting Somaliland and seeing first hand the wealth of investment potential, my nation beholds.  Do use the formal and informal opportunities for meaningful discussion and networking today to listen, engage, ask and follow-up on all the issues that pique your interest.  Afterall, this is just the tip of the iceberg.

 

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