Exiled Djiboutian business tycoon set to invest cement plant in Somaliland

By Asad Cabdullahi Mataan

The dissident Djiboutian business tycoon Abdourahman Boreh is set to invest $10 million in construction of a giant cement plant in the breakaway northern Somalia republic of Somaliland, officials say.

This follows the endorsement of a United Arab Emirates’ military base in Somaliland by the parliament this week, marking the second such agreement between the two sides.

Boreh who previously persuaded Dubai to invest in Djibouti is believed to be behind a deal which allowed the UAE to lease Berbera port.

His hand in the process is marked by his presence in Hargessa at the signing of the port deal by Dubai’s DP World and Somaliland government on May 9, 2016.

The businessman who currently lives in the UAE fled Djibouti in 2009 after he fell out with the incumbent president Ismail Guelleh has now leased the ground of now defunct ex-cement factory in the port town of Berbera in a partnership with Bashe Morgan, the son-in-law of Somaliland’s president.

Once completed, the facility with the capacity to produce over a million tonnes of cement is expected to become one of the largest in the horn of Africa region.

The new plant will also come with its own power generation plant, part of a strategy to expand and meet growing demand of cement in Africa amid booming construction sector, according to officials familiar with the matter.

Mr. Boreh could not be reached for comment.

However, his new business exercise comes after a British court has cleared him of terrorism and corruption charges leveled against him by Djiboutian government last year.

The Djiboutian tycoon had subsequently denied the charges.

The ruling is the culmination of years of legal battle that prompted international banks to freeze his assets.

The UK court had also ordered international banks to unfreeze millions of dollars of assets of him frozen by them 2013.