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Somaliland envoy to Kenya who was part of the 2021 UK-Africa investment Conference says the Berbera Port is going to play a major role in the Horn of Africa development.

Somaliland is seeking to implore the British businesses to venture into Berbera part of the partnership between the United Kingdom and Africa.

Bashe Awil Omar, the Somaliland envoy to Kenya who was part of the 2021 UK-Africa investment Conference on Wednesday says the Berbera Port whose expansion by the DP World from the United Arab Emirates is nearing completion is going to play a major role in the Horn of Africa development and the UK should take this advantage through investments.

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“It was great to be part of the conference that seeks to link British and African businesses focusing on creating future investment opportunities in sustainable infrastructure, agriculture, and green technology. We also like to implore the UK businesses to venture into Berbera port which is going to play a major role in the Horn of Africa development,” said Bashe.

Bashe said Somaliland will actively play a role in the UK-Africa partnership by offering opportunities for British citizens to venture and invest in the country.

“UK does not need any introduction to Somaliland. The British first visited Somaliland over 100 years ago and turned the country into a protectorate before we got independence in 1960. The UK knows the potential of Somaliland and what the country has to offer in terms of investment opportunities,” Bashe said.

The panelists during the conference identified renewable energy as a critical driver of Africa’s post-COVID-19 growth recovery and economic prosperity, as they called for a stronger partnership between the United Kingdom and  Africa.

The panel, themed UK & Africa: Partnering in Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Development, covered a discussion of British innovation and experience in the context of partnering with Africa to advance its economic development. Panel members said investment in large-scale electrification projects would be key.

African countries are building back better from the coronavirus, said Louis Taylor, CEO, UK Export Finance, adding that  this presents an “unalloyed opportunity for UK investors to be part of the African success story and for African countries to access the UK’s support for projects.”

According to International Energy Agency data, scaling up Africa’s capacity to achieve universal access to energy by 2030 would require over $100 billion per year, of which 40% would be dedicated to solar, wind, and other low-carbon power generation projects.

The African Development Bank has taken the lead in accelerating the electrification of the continent through its  New Deal on Energy for Africa, a transformative partnership-based strategy that aims to increase access to energy for all Africans.

“Building on the City of London’s deep expertise in innovative financial solutions, the African Development Bank sees promising opportunities to further expand its program to securitize receipts from solar home systems providers,” said Wale Shonibare, the Bank’s Director for Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulation.

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Shonibare called for a structured approach to sustainable infrastructure development and the implementation of large-scale electrification programs, citing the Bank’s Desert to Power initiative as an example of a project likely to attract interest from UK businesses.

Nicholas Oliver, Business Development Director of UK-based NMS Infrastructure Ltd, urged investors to engage more actively with local companies: “We need to create partnerships with governments and local businesses. It is a great time to invest in Africa. The African Development Bank estimates that climate change presents a $3 trillion investment by 2030. What an opportunity,” he said.

Olusola Lawson, Co-Managing Director of  African Infrastructure Investment Managers, an infrastructure investment management firm, noted the urgent need for access to energy in centers of high demand.

“In Africa, you can’t have transition without electrification. In this context, what we see is the trend from centralized large-scale power plants to a more distributive system.”

The UK Africa Investment Conference, hosted by the UK Department for International Trade, brings together the UK and African businesses to explore the opportunities for partnership and investment.

The UK has been a strong partner to the African Development Bank in the institution’s drive to attract greater private sector participation in African infrastructure investment. The Bank is currently working with a number of UK institutions to improve the enabling environment for infrastructure development in Africa.

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