Contributor: ¬†Andrew Elwell
If there’s one thing that the Somaliland government wants us ‚Äì the international community ‚Äì to know about maritime crime and the country’s future economic stability, it’s this:
“Whether it’s on our waters or on the waters of our neighbours in Somalia, as long as there are young Somali-speaking men in the Horn of Africa who have got access to arms and do not have any means of earning a living, the waters of the Horn of Africa will not be safe.”
Mohamed Osman Ahmed is the Executive Director of Somaliland’s Counter Piracy Coordination (CPC) Office and is leading efforts in the country to eliminate maritime crime through coastal development programmes, local governance, and job creation.
Speaking exclusively to¬†Defence IQ, Ahmed said that while piracy off the coast of Somaliland has fallen dramatically since 2012, there are other maritime threats that must now be addressed in a similar way. The root cause of all maritime crime is the same, so Ahmed believes all efforts must be targeted towards confronting the issues at source.
“One of the approaches that can solve the piracy problem is to create job opportunities for people in Somaliland and our neighbours in Somalia,” he said.
The fisheries industry in the country collapsed during the war in the 90s but now Somaliland is working to restore this vital trade through new infrastructure and capacity building with assistance from its international partners.
“Somaliland is trying to rehabilitate the fishery sector,” said Ahmed.
“There is an enormous effort from the private sector but we would like the training, the equipment, the knowhow and the financial resources to completely rehabilitate our fishery sector and we need international assistance to achieve this.
“The Berbera Maritime and Fisheries Academy needs more support and we need to train marine biologists.
“We need cooling stations along the coast of Somaliland so fishermen can cool and freeze the fish they catch at sea too.
“The entire fisheries sector needs investment and that’s where we should concentrate our efforts.”