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Issue 520/ 14th - 20th Jan 2012
Somaliland Business Fair & Sports Tournament – A Glimpse Of Economy Development
By Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi
Somaliland Vice President Abdirahman Ismail inaugurated Somaliland Business Fair 2011 (www.aoaevent.com) in Maansoor Hotel at Hargiesa - the capital of Somaliland. The private sector in coorination with Somaliland Business Fair Committee organized the expo between 17th and 21st Dec 2011.
The fair was unique of its kind in a region crawling with instability and civil war. It showcases the growing private sector of Somaliland, and the development policy of the government that encourages the private companies. Somaliland products dominated the event, where the imported good did not attracted the attention of the visitors.
“We were delighted to meet a diverse range of people representing various organizations, associations and themselves on the day including local MPs and figureheads of the community to business owners and passersby who dropped in to have a look around the stands.” Member of Organizing Committee said It gave us the chance to experience firsthand the enthusiasm, expectation and desire to get involved in the delivery of Somaliland Business Fair 2011.
The famous automobile company, TOYOTA, was one of the international companies who participated in the event with 20% discount to its products.
This is result of strategic economic development plan by the government of Somaliland that provides equal opportunity to all citizens in doing business, and the policy which promotes the small businesses.
In other hand, the Somaliland Ministry of Sports organized region-level sports tournament where all the states of Somaliland were equally presented in the games including football, marathon, basketball…etc. However the football dominated the headlines of the media as the primary sport that is widely practiced in Somaliland.
The Somaliland private companies like SomTel sponsored the tournament and financed more than three TV and Radio stations for LIVE broadcasting. The Somaliland Diaspora was watching the games across Middle East, Europe and Northern America. The support for respective regions was on the peak. It was amazing to see citizens of Somaliland supporting their respective states without considering tribes. There were two players in Maroodi Jeex and Sool teams, who were biological brothers.
The sponsoring companies supplied different prizes to the man-of-the-match, where a player got new TOYOTA Car worth thousands of American dollars. This is sign of economy boom in Somaliland, which is unique and milestone progress in short period of twenty years.
As I visited café shop used by the Somaliland citizens, someone could see the enthusiasm on their faces. They supported different regions but all shared one that tournament was needed to bring the people of Somaliland closer.
The authorities in Somaliland provided suitable and attractive environment for the businessmen and investors. Today, there is large number of foreign investors looking into the business opportunities in Somaliland including traders from the Arabian Gulf like Kuwaiti businessmen, which I personally met.
Moreover, Somaliland President Ahmed Siilaanyo received Somaliland’s long-distance runners, who won international medals including Abdi Bille Abdi, Mo Farah and Jama Karaaciin. These atlantes won world record in different occasion starting from end of last century until last Olympics. The government and people of Somaliland encourage the sports, where sportsmen are considered national heroes.
By\ Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi