10 February 2014

Somalia: Investing in a Country That Doesn't Exist - Somaliland's Hard Sell


Somaliland, the self-declared republic, is desperate for someone to find vast mineral reserves under its soil. But without international recognition - and the probability of legal battles in the future - it's a big risk for any country to take.

Somaliland too should be careful. Having dodged the aid curse, will they fall victim to the resource curse instead? By SIMON ALLISON.

At the recently concluded Mining Indaba in Cape Town, Somaliland's energy minister Hussein Abdi Dualeh had possibly the hardest sell of all. It was his job to convince the assembled mining bigwigs that his country was a viable, risk-free environment in which to invest millions and millions of dollars - all on the hope that there might be base and precious metals hidden somewhere under its drab scrubland.

He tried hard. "We have also a unique geographical location," the minister said in his speech at the conference. "If you have a mineral deposit and if you exploit it, it will be very cheap to take to market... it's definitely much less costly than a really getting fantastic deposit the middle of continent, which will cost you really huge amount of money to export it ... even the small deposit ...

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