Connect with us



Mogadishu – Once, in the 1960s and 70s, it was known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean.” That was before decades of armed conflict and instability drove visitors away from Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, leaving a once-thriving tourism a distant memory.

However, there are steps underway to return it, and the rest of the country, to its former glory as a haven for tourists seeking a mix of beach, culture and history – so much so that in some quarters, the country’s neglected tourism sector, while still in its nascent stages, is being touted as a potential catalyst of significant economic growth and employment in coming years.

That prospect received a boost last September when Somalia was admitted as the 157th member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) at the organization’s general assembly meeting in Chengdu, China.

According to the UNWTO, which helps destinations position themselves in global tourism markets, the spread of tourism in industrialized and developed states has produced ‎economic and employment benefits in many related sectors – from construction and ‎agriculture to telecommunications. It adds that developing countries particularly stand to ‎benefit from sustainable tourism and acts to help make this a reality.‎

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Somali News

Oil in Ogaden



The Reporter — Poly-GCL, the Chinese company engaged in oil and gas exploration and development project in the Ethio-Somali Regional State, Ogaden basin, has discovered oil and gas deposits.

Poly-GCL, which signed petroleum exploration and development agreement with the then Ministry of Mines in November 2013, has been prospecting for oil and gas reserve in a vast exploration area in the Ogaden basin. The company is also trying to develop the Calub and Hilala gas fields which was found in the Ogaden basin many years ago.

Koang Tutlam (MD), state minister of the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas, told The Reporter that Poly-GCL has discovered additional gas reserves in the Calub gas field. “In the appraisal wells the company drilled around Calub it has discovered additional gas reserve. If you remember we were talking about 4.7 Trillion Cubic Feet (TCF) of gas reserve. Now the recoverable gas amount reached 6-8 TCF. The amount has increased significantly,” Dr. Koang said.

Dr. Koang said Poly-GCL has discovered some amount of oil in the new exploration wells it drilled around Hilala locality, 1,200 km southeast of Addis Ababa. “In the new exploration wells they drilled they have found some oil. But we do not have figures right now. The company is making assessment to determine the amount of oil. We will reveal the figures once the assessment is completed.”

The Calub and Hilala gas fields were discovered by an American company called Tenneco in 1972. Former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) oil firm, Soviet Petroleum Exploration Expedition (SPEE), which was prospecting for oil in the Ogaden basin in 1980s, confirmed the gas reserves in Calub and Hilala localities estimated at four TCF.

A veteran petroleum geologist told The Reporter that Poly-GCL has found additional gas reserve in the same Calub structure but in a different horizon. “They have been drilling additional wells to appraise the existing gas reserve. So they must have found additional reserve in a different horizon.”
The petroleum geologist said it was not for the first time when trace of oil was found in the Hilala locality. Tenneco discovered a non-commercial oil reserve in Hilala in 1973. Oil shows have also been noted in various exploration wells drilled in Hilala and Elkuran localities.

The petroleum expert said that the Chinese now came up with a latest oil exploration technology that enabled them to identify what the Americans did not see. “They have not found a new structure but they have discovered some oil in a different horizon. The Americans and Russians were working in the Ogaden in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Now we are in 2018 and the Chinese have an advanced exploration technologies that enable them to trace the hydrocarbon resources.”

The petroleum expert pointed out that Poly-GCL has conducted 3D and 2D seismic surveys that helped them to undertake “successful” exploration work. However, he said it was too early to forecast the amount of oil reserve that the Chinese discovered. “It is only after successive well taste and exhaustive geo chemical laboratory analysis that they can determine the amount of the reserve. At this moment one cannot tell that the reserve is commercial or not.”

Poly-GCL has subcontracted another Chinese company, BGP Geo Services, which has been collecting seismic data in the license area covering 93,000 of arid land.

In addition to the ongoing exploration work, Poly-GCL is trying to exploit the natural gas reserves in the Calub and Hilala gas fields. Eight gas production wells have been drilled and made ready for production in Calub. Poly GCL planned to extract the gas reserve in Calub and Hilala and export it via a gas pipeline that would be constructed from the gas fields to all the way to the port of Djibouti.

Dr. Koang told The Reporter that works on the gas development project is progressing. “Poly-GCL has signed agreement on the pipeline construction with the governments of Ethiopia and Djibouti. We (the Ethiopian government) are now negotiating with the Government of Djibouti on the pipeline construction. It is an intergovernmental negotiation,” he said.

According to Dr. Koang, Poly-GCL will build an LNG plant in Djibouti that would change the gas into liquid natural gas which will be exported to China with special LNG vessels. The total cost of the gas development project is estimated at four billion dollars. Dr. Koang said Poly GCL would start exporting gas by 2021.

In the meantime, Poly GCL is working on the gas development plan. “They are working on the pipeline construction plan,. They are working on it with full swing,” Dr. Koang said.

If Poly-GCL’s gas field development project comes to fruition Ethiopia would soon become a hydrocarbon producing country.

This article was first published on THE REPORTER

Continue Reading

Somali News

BREAKING: Former Somali President denied VISA by the U.S.



World Affairs Council of Maine regrets to share that H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was denied visa issuance by the U.S. Consulate in Somalia under Executive Order 13769, Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States. Somalia is one of the six Muslim countries included in the travel ban. President Hassan is therefore unable to present as Keynote Speaker at Harvard’s African Development Conference this weekend or at the World Affairs Council’s event on Tuesday.

Here is the cancelled event’s website

Continue Reading

Briefing Room

‘Sense of duty’ sees Somali refugees head home



Slapping a large piece of equipment wrapped in packing materials, Dr Mohamed Hussein Aden smiles: “The Swiss sent us this but unfortunately not with the instruction manual so we don’t know how to use it. It’s sat here for a good few years now. Shame really.” The ceiling of the theatre is sagging and the operating table stained and split. It’s a far cry from Harrow, north London, where Aden lived and worked before returning in 2012 to Somalia, from where he fled as a refugee in 1994.

Now he is the director of Galkayo hospital, the main facility for the inhabitants of Somalia’s third city and for those living for hundreds of miles around in the drought-hit countryside.

“I came back in 2012. We Somalians have always felt a duty, an obligation, to support those back home, and now we are coming back, bringing the skills back, engineering, building, medicine. So many of our politicians are from the diaspora,” said Aden, 62, who harbours political ambitions. Four of his six children have returned with him, he said, seeing Somalia’s fragile peace as an opportunity.

Somalia’s president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, has dual US and Somalian citizenship. In his cabinet and ministries British accents vie with those from US, Canada and other parts of Europe. The aid agencies and civil society are full of young people like Saredo Mohamed, 22, born in Canada to Somali parents, who is relearning her mother tongue and culture.

“You see a lot of people in my age group coming back, it is a wonderful opportunity to give back and also to learn about my culture,” she said. Mohamed is working at Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development, founded by her aunt Hawa Aden Mohamed, another returnee from Canada.

The sheer numbers of diaspora returnees is unique to a country that has seen decades of war and lawlessness. In 2015, two million Somalis living outside the country were sending home so much money to support the households who stayed behind that the remittances accounted for 23% of GDP.

There have been tensions. Local Somalis have sometimes demanded more rights than those who have spent decades or whole lives abroad while returnees have been accused of assuming superiority due to their education and experience. A symposium was held in the capital Mogadishu last June to attempt to bridge such gaps.

“Such efforts hope to see people who have stayed and foreign returnees rebuilding Somalia together,” said Aden. “The diaspora has a big role, many of the young people come back and have a real culture shock. My son, 25, was really shocked when he arrived from London, it took 35 days for him to assimilate, now he is drinking camel’s milk!

“Myself, I came back after 28 years because my sister was dying. I said I would stay three months. Here I am after five years.”

Aden shows the work being done on a new building in the hospital’s compound: “Eighty per cent of the funding comes directly from the diaspora, mainly Europe, the Scandinavians, Denmark. We are really changing the town.” The construction work is being done by a company owned by Ali Dhaaf Abdi, aged 42, fresh from Norway. His Norwegian-born wife is still adjusting to this dusty city where only a handful of buildings are over one storey, and only one more than two storeys. “We will soon change that,” said Abdi. “For $25,000 I can build you a house for a family of four … I am building houses here for people from Sweden, from Canada, from the UK.

“I came back because while it is easy to make a business in Europe, it is difficult to grow bigger. Here I can expand. And this is my country. Now I have 120 employees. They welcome me here for the jobs.

“I do miss the security, Galkayo is very fragile. I also miss supermarkets and the high quality of clothing, but the education is the same. We have good wi-fi, my children come and go between here and Oslo.”

Continue Reading