“No place in East Africa is as open to business and investment as Somaliland” – says Abdikarim Adan, East African business guru.


Somaliland is usually misrepresented in the media and wrongly projected by the outside world. Perhaps because of her pan-Africanistic link with her neighbor, Somalia – a nation with colonial history completely different from Somaliland. Somaliland is one of the African countries that gained her independence twice – one amicably from Britain in 1960 and the other forcefully from their exploitative neighbor, Somalia, in 1991. And since their second independence, the country has recorded uninterrupted peace socio-politically and economically.

Recently, our East Africa correspondent had a brief interview with the Executive Director of Somaliland Trade and Investment Center, Mr. Abdikarim Adan. Thus:


MCR:   Your profile shows that you lived in the UK for over 25 years, why did you relocate to Somaliland despite the fact that
you know it is not yet a recognized country?

I relocated simply to actively contribute to revitalization of Somaliland trade and associated sectors by bringing and managing with my over 25 years business experiences, skills, contacts and advocacy combined with ability to cut across international boundaries and cultural barriers.  Secondly, I returned to my home country to contribute to the promotion of Trade and Investment between Somaliland and other nations worldwide by hosting event, trade fairs and talks.

Somaliland was the first Somali State to be recognised by the United Nation on 26th June 1960 and unilaterally united with Somalia without any condition on brotherly Pan Africanism and has lost tremendously. We regain our independence since 1991 and build “Africa Best kept Secret”.

A nation at peace with itself and outlooking to trade, partner with the world and the deal with UAE has demonstrated that recognition is no barriers, we are a de facto Recoginsed State with Diplomatic relation with number of Nations – including some members of the   UN Security Council.

MCR: What were some of the challenges you faced when you first returned to Somaliland?

Key challenges is the lack of awareness of the Somaliland opportunities for investment and businesses, lack of secular commercial banking and insurance systems and extremely limited access to international finance.  Although there is Islamic banking system, The delay in enacting law that opens way for the establishment of Commercial Banking is slow-pacing business we are still waiting for the Parliament to enact law that will provide room for Commercial Banking.

MCR:  As an experienced business tycoon, how can you compare the business environment in the UK and Somaliland?

Somaliland is more accessible in doing Business compared to UK. However, the only advantage UK has is that there are more Business Advisor to assist with Business Start UP and advance Governance structures.

MCR: What are the unexplored areas of business and investment available in Somaliland? 

There are huge opportunities for investment in Somaliland such as in – Fishing, Farming, Renewal Energy, mineral resources, production, tourism, and trade, and banking sectors.

The country is yet to thoroughly explore investment that makes productive use of the country’s human and natural resources, investment which introduce innovative technology and industries that could use more of our local human and non-human resources.

In addition to that, we also need to re-establish our export business to Ethiopia, a land lock nation with  over 100 Million populations.

MRC:   What would you like to tell foreign investors about the political and economic situations of Somaliland?

Somaliland is open for businesses. We strongly believe trade unites nations. No place in East Africa is as open to business and investment as Somaliland.

MRC:   What piece of advice would you like to give the youth as regards the contemporary business world?

Somaliland is blessed with strong and dynamic young population under 25 who are endowed with skills that can be developed and let us work together to ensure, we build a winning nation.

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