These are existing and productive times for the people of Somaliland. During the past few years, the country has experienced remarkable growth in its economic activity and road to development with limited international assistance. Despite the challenges that our nation faces, there is an air of optimism among the populace about the country’s future. The Ministry of Energy & Minerals continues to be a beacon of hope for this country to utilize its God given natural resources such as hydrocarbons, minerals and renewable energy such as wind and solar power to generate revenue to grow the economy and improve our social and economic development as a nation.
The Ministry has made significant strides in making our people’s dream a reality. There are now four international oil companies that are operating in Somaliland that acquired significant acreage to explore for oil and gas and they are bullish about our country’s potential to hold sizable hydrocarbon reserves. In recent years, East African countries have experienced great successes in making major oil and gas discoveries such as in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar and Ethiopia. Somaliland hopes to be part of this burgeoning East African oil patch and the future bodes well for its chances to make a major oil discovery as well in the not too distant future if exploration continue as planned.
As part of the highly productive Mozambique belt, Somaliland is also endowed with a numerous types of minerals such as base metals, precious metals, coal, rear earths and gemstones. Exploration efforts by exploration license holders are bearing fruit and there is good chance for Somaliland to commission its first mining operations by mid 2015.
After the Ministry spearheaded the first wind power pilot project in the country to provide electricity for Egal International Airport in the capital Hargeisa, the concept has gained traction among Somaliland’s independent power producers and businesses. There are numerous similar or bigger wind power projects that are ongoing throughout the country such in Borama, Erigavo, Burao, Berbera and Ainabo. With the Ministry’s support, promotion and public awareness campaigns, I am pleased to see that Somaliland is quickly embracing the use of renewable energy to alleviate the exorbitant cost of electricity to its consumers. We are actively pursuing to pilot or promote a commercial scale solar power project to also champion the increased use of solar power in Somaliland.
As we stay on the path to tap and utilize our natural resources for the benefit of our people, it is imperative that the citizenry appreciate the importance of this journey and understand the transformative affect that fining oil or a vast deposit of minerals can have on our meager economy. To reach our destination, we need the investment of foreign companies who are willing to risk a lot of their own capital in this endeavor. I urge Somalilanders to welcome and support the ongoing exploration efforts for oil and minerals and not impede it in any way if we are to reach the success that eluded us for so long to tap the riches beneath our feet.