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Location, Location, Location: UAE upping Somalia trade links amidst resurgent piracy threat

The historical roots of engagement between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Somalia harken back centuries to when Arab merchants controlled trade routes circumventing what now constitutes Somalia and the semi-autonomous Somaliland and Puntland regions. In March 2017, word broke that UAE-based heavy hitter DP World was planning to manage and develop a port in Berbera, Somaliland. In addition in April, UAE-based P&O Ports won a 30-year contract for the Puntland port of Bosaso. What is unfolding is a bid for strategic trade relevance, as well as for political clout and access to a troubled and opportunity-rich corner of the world.

Simultaneously, the timing of these agreements coincides with an uptick in regional security risks. While piracy in the Eastern Horn may be on the rise, will the international community’s attention, and increased foreign engagement, be sufficient to reverse this trend?

SOURCE: Global Risk Insights