Two semi-autonomous areas of northern Somalia have largely avoided the violence that’s plagued the rest of the country for decades. Now oil exploration may change that, according to the United Nations.
Somaliland’s government hired private security experts to help improve safety after Genel Energy Plc suspended operations in the semi-autonomous region citing growing instability, Foreign Minister Mohamed Bihi Yonis said.
Somaliland, a breakaway territory in northern Somalia, has a gross domestic product of $1.4 billion with a “high” income gap between rich and poor, according to the World Bank’s first economic output estimate.
Somaliland’s central bank will begin exchanging 7 billion Somali shillings ($4.37 million) of notes for its own currency next month as part of a plan to stop using the Somali currency in the autonomous region by mid-June.
Somaliland is optimistic that a search for oil by Genel Energy Plc, run by former BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward, will find commercial quantities of crude, Mines and Energy Minister Hussein Abdi Dualeh said.
The central bank of Somaliland, a breakaway republic in northern Somalia, expects lawmakers to enact a draft banking law by June, enabling commercial lenders to extend credit to borrowers for the first time.
Somaliland plans to step up efforts for international recognition on expectations that a referendum on independence in Southern Sudan will aid its campaign for statehood, Foreign Minister Mohamed A Omar said.