I went for a short working visit to the coastal city of Berbera, which I had to go to during school holidays. Again, I obtained opportunity to peregrinate to this city conventionally between the years of 1995-2006 from COOPI international NGO to whom I worked for had a main office in Borama and sub office in Berbera at the time.
To begin with the chronicles of the town; the city has gone through different times. First, Berbera has a long history of beautiful architectural buildings with diverse ethnic groups, mainly Hindi, Arab and Turks and of course Somalis who composed the bulk of ethnic groups at all times. Among the Somalis, there were different tribes, including to that of Isaq, dhulbahante, Warsangali and Gadabursi.
I met with friends who were born and raised in this city, but had been away for a long time and the only matter that these people were in agreeable were Berbera was not a clannish city. They said: We had heard; Issa Musa and Musa Abdallah rarely; but nothing more than that. It has been common to hear Deerayahan, Xasanjibriil, Cabadalaqoyan, Dhogori since 1990.
There has been a sharp drop among the different ethnic groups used to live in Berbera for example Indians, Arab, Turkish and other Somali tribes from different parts of Somaliland. Fewer individuals of the communities live in Berbera to this day. Although, they do not speak in their own languages, they are an important part of the local community.
The 1980’s, Berbera was a small town, but its business activity for example shipping ships that come to the port and the people coming to trade or to board the ships to fulfill the pilgrimage were significantly higher than the size of the population in the city.
Unlike before, many parts of the city are deserted; especially in the famous suburbs of Darole where the famous kiln of ElmiBodhari was located is dilapidated and horrible. The financial prospects of the city was very appalling before the advent of DP world and nobody in Somaliland would have dared to invest in Berbera.
By the way, the major holders in the country with the arrival of DP world have set great ambitions to prepare themselves for the jobs and business opportunities expected from the DP WORLD. Despite the people in the city of Berbera being busy in bustling trade of among others buying plots of greater sizes and constructing modern hotels, the size of the population remains very little and the worst is for the women and children. The majority of the people I saw were mostly men who either work directly or indirectly at the port of Berbera.
It seems that people are intrigued by prospects of buying land proximate to the seaport, and that is not good because port needs reserve lands for future prospects. Surprisingly enough, the future is not bright for Berbera power utility Company. It is the only city in Somaliland, where the electricity goes off when it rains because the system (electrical grid) is out-of-date and in ruins and requires to be renovated so as to withstand with heavy rain. Unfortunately, the company is unprepared to restore the system as no other company competes with them in the city.
Another topic of great concern was that the road between Hargeisa and Berbera despite restructuring the road with funds obtained from Somaliland Development Fund (SDF), Dakarbudhuq and Aw Barkhadle remain, the two most dangerous places in the ravine for all the village on the wayside. To reduce the risk of overflow-related deaths as a result of driving through floodwater. You need to build two bridges over the gully one each at Dakarbudhuq and Aw Barkhadle so that people can travel from Berbera to Hargeisa safely.
It is pleasing to note that many people in Sahil region are becoming farmers and they have invested heavily in agriculture, especially in irrigation farms. I expect from them to produce fruits and vegetables to make money despite challenges. They require to be trained in modern agricultural farming techniques and modern drip irrigation systems that will reduce water cost. Finally, I recommend for farmers in the Sahil region to be constructed greenhouses with drip irrigation systems that can be a good role model.
Abdirahman Ibrahim Abdilahi