By Goth Mohamed Goth
SomalilandPress-High levels Ethiopia delegation consisting several minister and heads of other governmental agency currently visiting the country this week toured several important installations including the strategic port of Berbera is one of the main gates to foreign markets and a key to future development. The port currently serves both land-locked Ethiopia and Somaliland and has the potential to become a regional trade hub.
The Ethiopian delegation during the familiarization tour of the port of Berbera were briefed on the daily operations of the facility and how it serves both countries, the visiting officials discussed with local authorities ways to assess the feasibility of upgrading the port and transportation links supporting it, including the Berbera Corridor Highway, the Berbera and Hargeisa Airports and the Ethiopia-Somaliland border crossing facilities.
Berbera port authorities gave in-depth briefing to the visiting Ethiopian delegation on the ongoing expansion work of the existing quays and yards to provide increased capacity at the port, the development of the “American Quay” to accommodate large ships and the rehabilitation of the oil jetty.
The visiting Ethiopian delegation after wrapping up the visit to the port of Berbera also toured the vast Berbera fuel storage depot which is another vital installation in the country.
Mr. Saleban Said Ali, the Managing Director of Berbera fuel storage facility informed the visiting delegation of the workings of the fuel depot, the government recently initiated expansion and modernization work at the e Berbera fuel storage facility and the current capacity has being increased by 10,000 cubic meters, this part of the first phase which has already being completed and later visited the nearby SOMGAS facility which has being undergoing 18 month expansions work which is due to finish soon.
The Ethiopian delegation visited the Berbera international airport in a bid to evaluate the two principal airports in Somaliland-Hargeisa and Berbera. Increasingly, air freight carriers in the Middle East and Africa are switching from propeller aircraft to jets. This requires the modernization of the runways, aprons and taxiways at both airports.
The Minister of Civil Aviation and Air Transport Hon Mahmoud Abdi Hashi accompanied the Ethiopian delegation during an inspection tour of the airport runway one of the longest in Africa, the newly built main terminal which comprises of modern arrival and departure terminal lounges.
Lastly the visiting delegation embarked on the last leg of their tour which brought them to Gabiley region Tog-Wajaale where the Ethiopia-Somaliland border crossing facilities are situated and a point of commercial activities between the two countries.
Members of Somaliland government accompanying the visiting Ethiopian delegation:
1. Foreign Minister Hon Mohamed Yonis Bihi
2. Minister of Commerce and International Investment Dr. Muse Qassim Omer
3. Minister of National Planning Dr. Saad Ali Shire
4. Minster of Finance Hon Abdiaziz Mohamed Samaale
5. Minister of Presidency Hon Hirsi Ali Haji Hassan
6. Minister of Public Works Hon Abdirisaaq Khaliif Ahmed
7. Minister of Civil Aviation and Air Transport Mohamed Hashi Abdi
8. Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance Osman Abdullah Saxardiid (Cadaani)
9. Ambassador Ayaanle Salah Diiriye
10. Presidential advisor on Foreign and International cooperation Ambassador AbdiFatah Said Ahmed
The Ethiopian delegation consisted of
1. H.E. Ato Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development (MoFED)
2. H.E. Ato Workneh Gebeyehu, Minister, Ministry of Transport
3. H.E. Ato Ahmed Shide, State Minister, MoFED
4. H.E. Ato Ahmed Tussa, Director, Maritime and Logistics Services
5. Dr. Getachew Betru, Director General, National Railway Corporation
6. Amb. Solomon Abebe, Director General, African Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
7. Ato Kokeb Misrak, Director, Bilateral Cooperation, MoFED
8. Ato Wassihun Abate, Director, Legal Service, MoFED
9. Ato Bekele Negussie, Deputy Director General, Ethiopian Road Authority
10. Head of Ethiopian Electric Power
11. Head of Ethiopian Petroleum Supply Enterprise.
12. Ato Major General Berhane Tesfaye , Ethiopian Ambassador to Somaliland
After the concluding the familiarization tour of the country the visiting Ethiopian delegation returned to Hargeisa and the later attended a state dinner hosted in their honor by H.E. President Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud Silanyo who on behalf of the people of Somaliland thanked for their country support in which he said, “Ethiopia has been and will be a good Friend of Somaliland and the two countries have a very close relationship, and promised not only to maintain prevalent existing bilateral relations but to strengthen them in the Future.
The head of Ethiopian delegation on his part thanked the people and Government of Somaliland for their hospitality and lauded the country’s track record of “political stability and security,” means it is “ready for business right now.”