The Dubai based port and container company, that has catched a lot of flack within this week. Both with their devious deal, that the Federal Republic of Somalia dismissed, after Somaliland, Ethiopia and DP World went into a co-venture over the Berbera Port. If that isn’t enough internal and diplomatic squabble, nothing is. As the United Arab Emirates are even trying influence more politicians over deal on the Horn of Africa. As they have already had the power to get a 30 year deal in Somaliland.
However, that deal has been under fire and people have wondered if the Mogadishu government has accepted it or done so with a favor. Since, this is still a government facility and important hub. That other nations like Ethiopia would like to have their stake in. Secondly, DP World has already another agreement on the horn in the port of Doraleh Container Terminal (DCT). That deal was done in 2006 and got binned by the government of Djibouti late February. So, the 30 year deal in Djibouti has already gone south and if the UAE government business want to interfere on the horn, they still have leverage in Somaliland. Where similar deal was made and the same concession of the port. Therefore, in the similar time-span and leadership, you can wonder if the Somaliland leadership signed similar agreement as the Djibouti counterparts, who has now canceled it there.
As that is happening, there is news of building and operating a Banana Port in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the agreements and the plans between Kabila’s government and DP World is appearing. Where the state will generate development and roads into the interior from the port, so the state can ensure the port that gets the containers and exports into the DRC. This is a big deal with amazing amount of funds going both to the Kabila cronies and the spending from DP World to upgrade the port there.
Since the writings notes of the 21st February 2018 Council of Ministers said about it:
“The 5 texts on the Construction of the Banana Deep Water Port (the Proclamation of Harmonization of Views on the Contract Clauses of the Collaboration Agreement and the Shareholders’ Pact) and the Collective Agreement on Delegation of Service Public: the draft decree approving the Banana Deep Water Port Construction Agreement, the Muanda-Banana Estate Industrial Estate Decree and the Shareholder Corporation’s Shareholder Agreement. Banana Deep Water Port), the Council decided to visualize the project at its next meeting prior to any final decision on it” (COMPTE RENDU DE LA 8 ème REUNION ORDINAIRE DU CONSEIL DES MINISTRES, 21.02.2018).
Therefore, the DRC Government is planning to finalize an agreement with DP World, who has already had questionable agreements in Somaliland and Djibouti. This is not also to extend the arm of the company, but also give the UAE more involvement on the continent. As they have already ports agreement in Senegal and Somaliland, as they lost the one in Djibouti. Therefore, this would be possible now in the DRC.
We can now, see the diplomatic arm and business goes hand in hand, this through the port and UAE are using means of giant sums of infrastructure building, to get the government happy and ready to sign over their port control to the company, who happens to be state-run. This gives Dubai more power and also more control over the container business and handling of goods in these countries. As well, as the questionable dealings, are gaining the political elites, but not giving back to the community as a whole.
We can just wonder if this is a useful tool for Dubai and UAE to gain more political leverage in and around on the African continent, clearly it is working and getting reactions. We have to see if the Federal Government of Somalia, will do more than just canceling and dismissing the tripart agreement between Somaliland, Ethiopia and DP World. Just have to see how this can affect the relationship between FSG, Somaliland and DP World. Also, if the DP World really making itself ready to takeover the Banana Port. They are clearly, making influences and throwing money around to gain important infrastructures, like the ports. So, they can have leverage when concerning political games like in the Qatar Crisis. Peace.