• For Somaliland and Djibouti, Will New Friends Bring Benefits? – Foreign Policy

    Local fishermen’s boats moor at Berbera port, in the breakaway territory of Somaliland, on July 21, 2018.
    Mustafa Saeed/AFP/Getty Images

    Interest in the Horn of Africa from foreign powers has always been a double-edged sword.

    BERBERA, Somalia—On any given day in Berbera, the deep-water port on Somaliland’s Red Sea coast, ramshackle ships dock next to small boats known as dhows. Most of them are waiting to set off for the Persian Gulf, laden with spices, scrap metal, and often more lively cargo—goats raised for the global market on the country’s scorched landscape.

    It may be hard to tell by looking at it, but some 30 percent of the world’s crude oil transported on ships passes just a few miles offshore, a detail that has made Berbera’s port a prized location for outside powers looking for a new connection to the world’s most vital sea transport route. As a result, Somaliland, like its neighbor Djibouti, which is emerging as a hub for foreign military installations, has found itself at the center of big power rivalries that could reshape the Horn of Africa.

    By 2020, Berbera’s dhows are set to have some much larger neighbors. Somaliland’s authorities have inked a deal with the United Arab Emirates for a $442 million port upgrade and the establishment of a new UAE naval base, offering the UAE a new launch point for its involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen and a way to strengthen its footing in the Horn of Africa.

    When it becomes operational, Berbera’s new port is set to be run by DP World. After getting its start building Dubai’s Port Rashid, the largely state owned company from the UAE has become one of the world’s biggest port operators. The project will also include the establishment of a free trade zone, which aims to deliver huge economic gains for Somaliland and the Horn of Africa more broadly.

    Given that Somaliland is not a country that formally exists, this new development is particularly ambitious. Although the territory has declared itself to be independent from Somalia, no other government recognizes its sovereignty, despite years of effort.

    For the UAE, deepening ties with Somaliland aligns with a broader determination to punish Somalia. The Emiratis are aggrieved by Mogadishu’s coziness with Qatar and its refusal to join in the Saudi-led blockade of that country. In January, Qatar donated 68 armored vehicles to Somalia’s military. In April, the UAE retaliated by shutting down a key hospital it had funded in Somalia’s capital.

    For Somaliland, the infusion of Emirati money means a lot more than being able to accommodate bigger ships and process more containers. For many, this set of investments is being viewed as an accelerant for the territory’s attempts to achieve formal independence from Somalia.

    According to the head of Somaliland’s port authority, Saed Abdullahi Hassan, it is the largest infusion of foreign cash the region has ever received.According to the head of Somaliland’s port authority, Saed Abdullahi Hassan, it is the largest infusion of foreign cash the region has ever received. Hassan added that the investment “means everything to us.” He told Foreign Policy that the port “is something big for us … as you know that we are moving away from Greater Somalia.” For him, “DP World coming to Berbera shows the stability of the country.

    However, Somaliland’s relative stability is only part of the equation. Western powers have said it’s up to the African Union to decide whether or not it will recognize Somaliland first. Given the complexities of revising colonial borders in Africa and the reluctance of larger African states to set a precedent that could be leveraged by their own rebellious regions, the African Union’s member states have few incentives to change the status quo. Somaliland is facing some very high barriers to realizing its ambitions of statehood, first and foremost in the form of opposition from Somalia.

    The willingness of outside backers to support Somaliland has aggrieved Mogadishu. Since the Somali state collapsed into a three-decade-long cycle of conflict and violence, Somalia’s government has been trying to regain control of the country’s entire territory. Somaliland’s plans for Berbera’s port directly challenge that vision.

    #Somalie #Somaliland #EAU #Dubai #DP_World

    • U.S. Developing Supply Route Along Dangerous Stretch From Djibouti to Somalia – Foreign Policy
      (article du 26/01/19)

      U.S. Army Brig. Gen. William Zana, left, greets then-U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, on March 9, 2018.
      Jonathan Ernst/AFP/Getty Images

      The U.S. Defense Department is in the early stages of a project to develop land-based supply routes from the main American military base in Africa, Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, to other U.S. camps across the eastern part of the continent, according to contractors involved with the project and officials familiar with the deliberations.

      The first part of the trail is intended to link Lemonnier to Baledogle, the U.S. camp in Somalia. The passage traverses areas controlled by the al Qaeda-affiliated group al-Shabab; swaths of land controlled by warlords with private militias; and a tense border region with Ethiopia.

      This project will further entrench the U.S. military presence in Africa. It might also be part of a broader American approach to countering China in places across the continent where the U.S. has vital interests, including the strategic Horn of Africa, though one former official said the plan is more likely driven by logistical considerations.

      Sending U.S.-affiliated convoys through these territories is generally considered highly dangerous. Foreigners tend to move in Mogadishu in armored cars with private security. If they leave the Somali capital, even to go short distances, they generally travel by air. U.S. military personnel usually make the 60-mile trip from the Mogadishu International Airport complex—which acts as the base for most internationals—to Baledogle in a helicopter.

      As such, a plan to create a passable route that runs through about three-quarters of the country is a hugely ambitious and expensive undertaking. The sources told Foreign Policy that carving out the routes in Somalia alone would cost at least $75 million.

      The project falls under the purview of the Virginia-based defense contractor Pacific Architects and Engineers, one of a few companies that support the United States African Command (the body also known as Africom that oversees U.S. military operations in Africa) in Somalia. Neither Africom nor the defense contractor would confirm the project, citing security concerns.

  • London court rules #DP_World #Djibouti contract valid and binding - Dubai govt | Reuters

    Dubai’s government said on Thursday the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) has ruled DP World’s port container terminal contract in Djibouti was valid and binding.

    The government of Djibouti seized the #Doraleh Container Terminal from DP World in February over a dispute dating back to at least 2012. Dubai government-controlled DP World has called the seizure illegal.

    The LCIA Tribunal has ruled that Doraleh Container Terminal’s Concession Agreement ‘remains valid and binding ...’” Dubai’s government media office said in a statement, which did not state when the ruling was made. “DP World will now reflect on the ruling and review its options.

  • Richard Branson’s Virgin #Hyperloop partners with backer #DP_World to launch logistics startup | TechCrunch

    Virgin Hyperloop One and DP World are launching a new joint venture, #DP_World_Cargospeed, two years after the high-speed transportation technology developer tapped the UAE-based shipping company in a $50 million financing.

    The company’s stated goal is to deliver palletized cargo more efficiently by combining super high-speed promise of hyperloop transportation with new logistics technologies to accelerate deliveries along Virgin Hyperloop One’s planned routes between Mumbai and Pune in India; in Saudi Arabia, and in the United Arab Emirates.

    Announced with much fanfare and in the presence of Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem and Virgin Hyperloop chairman Richard Branson, the new company is basically built on buzzwords like “on-demand” and the promise of future performance.

    Right now there’re only 10 kilometers of Virgin Hyperloop track being built (and they’re all in India).

    Although there’s not much more than a bunch of pontificating palaver around hyperloop technologies now, the startup companies and their corporate backers do present an compelling vision of the future of transportation.

    Introducing DP World Cargospeed

  • #DP_World to buy Dubai Maritime City, Drydocks World for $405 million

    Conséquences (dégâts) économiques de la #nuit_torride

    DP World, one of the world’s largest port operators, has agreed to buy two fellow state-owned maritime companies from its parent for $405 million.

    DP World will acquire Dubai Maritime City owner Maritime World for $180 million and Drydocks World for a capital injection of $225 million from Dubai World, the port operator said in a statement on Monday.

    Dubai World, the state-owned conglomerate which agreed to a $25 billion debt restructuring in 2011 after it was hit by the global financial crisis, is the majority owner of DP World, Maritime World and Drydocks World, according to its website.

    The transactions are expected to close before the end of the first quarter of 2018, DP World said.

    The agreement comes amid a regional dispute that has seen the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and other Arab countries, cut ties with Qatar, including closing access to its ports.

    That has meant that DP World’s flagship port #Jebel_Ali, the region’s largest, is no longer handling cargo destined to and from Qatar which is instead being shipped direct to Doha or through other regional ports.