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The Neglect of Berbera City Stands in Stark Contrast to the Modern Technologies at its Port

Somaliland’s main port, at the city of Berbera, accounted for two-thirds of the country’s revenues in 2020. Over the years, these revenues have mostly gone into the central state coffers, while the development of Berbera has been neglected. The uneven development of Berbera city manifests in the contrast between the large amounts of energy consumed by the port and the lack of affordable electricity for most urban dwellers. These inequalities challenge the expectation that Somaliland’s further integration into the globalised chains of production and consumption – through its modern port – will greatly benefit its citizens. Berbera and other cities in Somaliland need policies that ensure energy becomes affordable for the urban poor. Without such policies, the gap between the rich and the poor is likely to widen further, with access to energy being but one of the indicators of this inequality. A special economic zone has been established to attract investors. And a transport corridor that links the port with Ethiopia is nearly complete.