A company owned by Somali diaspora called Udug Limited, completed a feasibility study of the Saltworks in Hurdiyo and Hafun along with Redd Engineering – an engineering company based in the United States.
According to Udug Limited the first phase of their proposed Rehabilitation of the Hurdiyo/Hafun Saltworks was successful. The teams met with district officials, elders, youth and women to ensure that all sectors of the society in Hurdiyo/Hafun were involved in the project.
This endeavor began last year when Udug Limited founder and partners – from the Somali diaspora – Ismail Mohamed, Guled Mussa, Amina Mohamed and Yusuf Adan traveled to Hurdiyo and adjacent areas to meet with residents concerning their interest in reviving the abandoned saltworks. The Udug Limited team ensured that they met with all members of the society to reach a consensus on how to revive the saltworks. After extensive deliberations, Udug Limited and the residents of Hurdiyo and Hafun reached an agreement to attract investment for the revival of the old saltworks.
During their visit, Udug Limited and Redd Engineering – led by Lowry Redd – visited the ruined site to analyze the remaining infrastructure and attain the necessary data to complete their feasibility study.
According to Lowry Redd, the site has large promise and could return to its heyday as one of the principal saltworks in the world. The site was built in 1930’s during Italian colonial rule and took 5,000 laborers and 5 years to construct. It once was Somalia’s biggest industry and during its short-lived height was managed by Italians.
Somalia’s economic sector has steadily improved after the devastating collapse of the government in 1991. Recently the international community has steered their focus to the economic sector in Somalia, following the New Deal accord in 2013. According to Mohamed Ahmed an official at Puntland’s Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, there is a more concentrated focus on economic support specifically job creation to states and regions in Somalia. Under the New Deal improving the economy in Somalia has been designated its own Peace and State-building Goal.
According to Udug Limited this endeavor is precisely what the New Deal advocates to achieve. “Sustainable enterprises that harness the resources of Puntland and its people in order to collect taxes, provide jobs and build infrastructure to improve the economy” said Guled Mussa.
According to Amina Mohamed, Udug Limited was responding to the plea of the President of Puntland, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas, for Somali diaspora to return and invest in their native homes. “We are trying to do our part as residents of Puntland and we are answering the calls of the government to invest, and honestly we see very much promise.”
The Somali diaspora have been reportedly sending $1.3bn-$2bn in remittances back home a year. Somali diaspora have not only sent money back home but have provided technical skills, leadership and advice. But critics suggest that the diaspora need to increase cooperation with the locals and build long lasting partnerships to ensure confidence. Udug Limited partners said that they have pledged to ensure that this endeavor is pursued with transparency and open consultation with local residents and government counterparts to ensure success and lasting positive change. Udug Limited believes this venture can be a template for large scale investment in Puntland and Somalia and a new chapter for this region and country.