Somalia salt industry revives

Puntland

HAFUN, Somalia, March 7, 2015 (Garowe Online)-After two-decade old civil unrest, Diaspora returnees are seeking to revive Somalia’s salt sector in the coastal towns of Hafun and Hurdiyo- strategic hubs that form the tip of the Horn of Africa.

In late 2014, Udug limited alongside US-based consultancy, Redd Engineering began conducting feasibility studies in the salt producing areas along the seaside towns according to Gulled Musse, a Diasporan who spent much of his life abroad.

“Udug limited is proposing creating sustainable enterprises that harness the resources of Puntland,” Musse told GO, adding that the new initiative would provide unemployed people with jobs.

With strategic salt plant successfully renovated, Somali diaspora returnees are now eyeing the second phase of the income generating programme: “The site is promising and could return to its heyday as one of the principal salt works in the world,” said Lowry Redd, an official with the consultancy referring to 1900s when Italian firm heavily invested in Hafun salt factory.

Italian cooperative societies at the time produced around 200,000 metric tonnes of salt and exports mainly went to Far-East Asia.

Amino Mohamed, key backer of the project believes that the revival of salt industry at the peak of the boom is a response to calls by President Abdiweli Mohamed Ali for more investment in the relatively peaceful Puntland which escaped the country’s worst upheavals.

“We are trying to do our part as residents of Puntland and we are answering the calls of the government to invest and honestly we see very much promise,” she stressed.

Not only does the project create jobs for thousands but it would improve the local economy which is gradually creaking back to life, unveiled an official at Puntland Planning and international cooperation ministry, Mohamed Ahmed.

“Under the new deal, improving economy in Somalia has been designated its own peace and state building goal,” said Ahmed. “There is a more concentrated support on economic focus, specifically job creation”.

The renovation of salt works in Hurdiya and Hafun was preceded by community-wide consultations.

If salt facilities re-erected, the initiative will very likely open a new chapter in the history of investment in a country that has been a spot for bloody stalemate for over two decades.

Somalis abroad approximately injected USD 2b in shaky remittance into the East African country.

Puntland chamber of commerce made a plea for investment in mid-2014, and the completion of the first phase of salt works coincides with a US-hosted forum that will be bringing together hundreds of entrepreneurs and key investors in Nairobi.

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