EDITORIAL: Why A Ban On Emirati DP World May Not Be Enforceable
Somalia has in the last ten years witnessed a scramble for its resources by foreign countries. By 2018 countries that have been seen to be in the forefront in this rush for resources and investment in the Horn of Africa country have been Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Qatar. And this rush has resulted in diplomatic rows and strained relations between countries seeking to have a share of Somalia´s resources. On Monday Somalia Parliament passed to ban all the operations of the Emirati port operator DP World following the controversial $1bn port deal. But why is the UAE DP World the only company been targeted? And will a legislation by Somalia be effective in halting DP World operations in Somalia? How inclusive has the process of giving concessions to foreign companies been? Many people are of the opinion that the concession of the Mogadishu seaport and airport to Turkish companies Albayrak and Favori LLC respectively did not follow due process. The parliament had passed to scrape the deals signed in 2013 but the two remain operational. The ordinary Somali will most likely question the enforceability of a law banning DP World if past cases are anything to go by. “Look at the case of Favori. It is basically operating in the country illegally. Any straight thinking Somali will ask why the government is targeting DP World and ignoring the illegal operation of Favori. The law should apply fairly to all whether the company is from Turkey or Qatar or UAE” Abdi Yusuf a Horn of Africa expert says. As far as trade is concerned UAE remains an important country to Somalia. A significant number of Somalis have invested in the Gulf country. Notably, the Somalia Federal Parliament has chosen to downplay the Bossaaso port which is managed by DP World while the Berbera port became the debating issue. On Monday MPs from Somaliland requested the discussion on the issue to be postponed. This shows that the parliament has not agreed on the matter 100%. At the opening of Somalia´s parliament’s 3rd session, President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo ordered all companies operating within Somalia illegally to move out. Will we see the Turkish Favori LLC move out in this order or the order targeted Emirati companies only? The Favori LLC which won a 30 years concession deal to operate in the country is categorised as one of the countries operating in Somalia illegally. Below are legislations made by the Somali Transitional Federal Parliament and Somalia Federal Parliament since 2007 but remain to be enforced.
- The Parliament passed that Kenya withdraws its troops from Somalia, but they are still in the country.
- The parliament passed that no frontline countries i.e Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti should have its forces in Somalia but the three countries have boots on the ground.
- The parliament passed that the agreement signed in 2013 that gave Favori LLC management of the Mogadishu airport was illegal. Favori is still operational.
- The parliament passed that the new parliament of Jubbaland is illegal, but to date, it continues to legislate matters of the regional state and even elected a regional President.
- The parliament passed that Ethiopia withdraws its troops from Somalia, but they are still in the country.
- The parliament passed that the agreement between Somalia and Kenya on the sea dispute is illegal, but later the court upheld the agreement saying it was significant and essential.