Particularly, I would like to express our appreciation to Somaliland friends who traveled from far to attend this important meeting. The Government and the people of Somaliland are fully aware of the important role that Somaliland friends play in strengthening the relationship between Somaliland and the International community, and their tireless effort to help Somaliland achieve its development objectives and international recognition.
History will record the important role of Somaliland friends.
Ladies and Gentlemen
However hard we try, we cannot capture the tremendous achievements Somaliland has made in the past 27 years. Therefore, I will like to mention the most important ones:
· Peace and reconciliation among the Somaliland clans;
· Demobilization of the Militia and the establishment of Somaliland national armed forces;
· State and institutions building;
· Referendum on the constitution and its approval by 97% o the Somaliland voters;
· Implementation of the democratization process and holding of multiple rounds of peaceful, credible, free and fair elections;
· Economic development and successful efforts to attract Foreign Direct Investment chief among them is the expansion and modernization of the Berbera Port;
· Somaliland’s contribution to the regional peace and stability;
· The role we play in the Regional Economic integration through utilization of the soon to be expanded and modernized Berbera port.
Ladies and Gentlemen
During the last 27 years, Somaliland has faced a lot of challenges. Most of these challenges we overcame. However, there are still some challenges that we are still tackling including the following:
· Economy with limited resources;
· Huge unemployment level particularly among the youth;
· Lack of international recognition which impacts negatively on our ability to obtain our rights including international economic support, specially from International Financial Institutions;
· Limited resources for a better infrastructure development.
Our government is continuously working on strategies to address these challenges facing us in this contemporary period.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
We are closing following the changing dynamics and the ports competition in the region. The expansion and modernization of Berbera Port provides Somaliland with an opportunity to play an important role in the regional economic integration.
Somaliland plays an important role in the peace and security of the region which we spend considerable amount of our limited resources. Somaliland is an oasis of peace and stability free from the scourge of terrorism and piracy.
You have a lot of things to deal with in this conference. So, I do look forward to seeing your views and recommendations on the way forward for Somaliland Republic, including on the aforementioned challenges.
Kaafi media Hargeisa Office/