Dubai government-owned P&O Ports said yesterday that it has signed a deal to develop the port at Bosaso, which is located in the Gulf of Aden on Somalia’s northern border in the semi-autonomous state of Puntland.
The deal follows months of shuttle diplomacy by Puntland president Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, who has been lobbying potential international partners to agree several infrastructure projects in the state, including the port.
Mr Ali flew to Dubai to finalise terms on Monday, the same day that Somalia’s federal parliament agreed a $268m budget for this year.
A spokesman for P&O said he was unaware of the financing terms for the project.
Somalia, which has been devastated by a civil war that has persisted for more than two decades, raises 60 per cent of its state revenue from harbour and airport taxes, with the remainder coming from supranational institutions like the IMF, or foreign private sector operators, according to Garowe Online, an independent news outlet.
“Infrastructure development is a priority for the government of Puntland as it underpins the efforts of taking this country forward,” said Mr Ali in a statement released with news of the port deal.
Puntland has been relatively stable compared to violence in Somalia’s southern state, although it has suffered periodic attacks from the Al Shabaab terrorist group, which have targeted particularly the large Ethiopian refugee camp at Bosaso. But most of the trouble in Puntland has been criminal in nature, most notably sea piracy based around Eyl.