Somalia: Government to build Hobyo Port in the coastal town

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The government of Somalia’s Galmudug State which is situated in the north-central Mudug region has signed an agreement with a UK-based consortium for the construction of Hobyo port in the coastal town of Hobyo. This announcement was made by Abdisabir Nur Shurie, Galmudug’s minister for ports and fisheries on his Twitter handle. He noted that the deal was signed in London with Oriental Terminal which is made up of Turkish, British, and Somali companies.

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According to the minister, the first survey team would arrive in the country to plan the construction and operation of the port, which he said would bring “significant socio-economic changes in the lives of millions of people in Galmudug and the neighboring states”.

Plans to involve Qatar in the project

The aforementioned deal follows reports in June that the port would be built and operated by a “public-private entity”, with the help of US$ 90M from Somali businesses. The announcement seems to end the initial plans to involve Qatar in the project.

Last year, the government of Qatar was reported to have signed an agreement worth around US$ 170M to build the port, and the project was to have been developed by the state-owned port management company, Mwani Qatar.

Qatar thus aspired to position itself more in relation to its rivals in the Gulf, in this region of the world at the crossroads of several key maritime corridors.

Significance of the proposed port of Hobyo

The future port of Hobyo is of geostrategic interest because of its proximity to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which is one of the most important sea crossing points in the world, with significant potential for access to international markets. Since the 13th century, Hobyo has been a hub for merchants in textiles, precious metals, and pearls. The main export crops in modern times have been livestock, hides, aromatic woods, and raisins.