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"We Are Open For Business" Farmaajo Tells China As FOCAC Summit Kicks Off In Beijing

Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo on Monday joined more than 40 African leaders in the Chinese capital Beijing for the Forum for Africa-China Cooperation, FOCAC.

The summit is a meeting between the two partners and is largely premised on ways to increase diplomatic, economic and bilateral ties.

This year’s edition is themed “China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation.”

Somalia seems to be ahead in the race in the adoption of the theme and has already signed several deals with Beijing days before the summit.

President Farmaajo held bilateral talks with his host President Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The two leaders also witnessed the signing of a series of bilateral cooperation documents.

Bilateral trade volume reached 485 million US dollars in 2017 with year-on-year growth of 20 percent.

The Chinese government has built over 80 infrastructural projects like hospitals, stadiums and roads. To date, China has dispatched a medical team of more than 400 members in 13 batches to the country since 1991.

Still, with the authorization of related UN resolutions, China has deployed its navy fleet to carry out escort missions in the waters off Somalia, which has contributed to maintaining security there.

“The meeting re-affirmed the strong relationship and future cooperation between Somalia and China” s statement from Villa Somalia said later.

Somalia-China Cooperation was further strengthened with the landmark signing of the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ and ‘Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement’.

“We are committed to extending our historic ties while harnessing modern opportunities” Villa Somalia stated.

Farmaajo met with leaders of Chinese companies and financing enterprises which are interested in investing in Somalia. The message by Farmaajo jas been clear “The Somali Government welcomes all investors and is working towards further improving the investment environment. Somalia is open for business” he said.

A seemingly more agressive Farmaajo is seeking to expand economic ties not only with China but with the Horn of Africa region and Africa in general.

Farmaajo met Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on the sidelines of FOCAC in Beijing.

“Economic cooperation and integration in the Horn of Africa is key to more investment opportunities, paves the way for a more secure, connected and safer region” Villa Somalia stated.

Somalia is seeking to tap economic opportunities with neighbouring Ethiopia with a population of 100 million people undergoing reforms with the new leadership of Abiy Ahmed who took over in April.

In June Ethiopia’s Ahmed was in Mogadishu where the two leaders said in a statement the two countries would enhance diplomatic and trade activities, including opening diplomatic and consular offices and removing of “all trade and economic barriers.”

The leaders paid “singular focus” to economic growth and bilateral investment to “secure a prosperous future for their people, the countries of the Horn of Africa and ultimately the African continent.”

“Somalia has more to gain in this economic relation with Ethiopia. We have the ports to serve the large population. The 100 million plus population is a reasy market for Somalia’s business men. This is something Farmaajo administration has tapping on” Newton Mwangi a regional economy told Radio Dalsan.

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Radio Dalsan