Attracting foreign investors – Residential and commercial real estate booms in Hargeisa
Despite the investment opportunities, many international investors remain hesitant to enter a market that has witnessed instability for so many years. But for local investors, construction is the safest and best proven way to make a profit, said real estate agent Nassir Hussein.
“You see we do not have Citibank or Barclays and the only safe venture for locals to invest in is land and property,” he told Sabahi.
Ahmed Abdi, an economist who teaches at the University of Hargeisa, says Somaliland provides a multitude of opportunities for any foreign investor armed with the right information.
The region is blessed with natural resources such as coal and raw materials to make cement, yet the outside world is unaware of the substantial profit margins that could be gained, he said.
To woo investors, the government should publicise these opportunities and Somaliland’s trade policies more aggressively, Abdi said.
“[For example], all cement currently used in Somaliland is imported from Asia and Middle East countries and it is becoming expensive because of the boom,” Abdi told Sabahi. “If an investor revives the cement factory in Berbera, he will be guaranteed of recouping his investment and making profits because the demand for cement is so high and he will not face competition locally.”
But Salad Abdi Ige, director general at the Ministry of Industries, said the administration has already embarked on a number of measures to attract investors, including targeted tax breaks.
“We have eased the process of obtaining licences to invest and all the paperwork involved,” he told Sabahi. “We will also help the investor find land to build a factory.”
He said the administration is targeting investors from the Middle East because of their geographical proximity, which can facilitate the transport of any needed equipment or labour force.
Ige said new foreign capital could help expedite the creation of new jobs and ease the unemployment rate, which is especially high among youth.
Guul Group is a corporation that has a sizeable portfolio and is operating across a range of sectors that include agriculture, livestock, and consultancy. It has striven to establish and bolster trade within Somaliland, Somalia and the rest of the Horn of Africa. The company will stand to earn from the recent push that the region has made in attracting global investors and strategic partners (which have been hesitant) on projects in Somaliland and potentially other Horn of Africa markets, whilst provide employment opportunities among the youth and women. www.guulgroup.com