In a ceremony attended by Somaliland government ministers and headlined by the Vice President of the Republic of Somaliland, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals has unveiled a 50 million US dollar World Bank-funded project called the Somaliland Electricity Sector Recovery Project. According to officials who spoke at the event, will substantially lower the price of electricity down and provide stand-alone solar off-grid access to select public educational institutions and healthcare facilities and has a duration of six years.
According to the World Bank documents, there is no such project as the Somaliland Electricity Sector Recovery Project, instead, there is the Somali Electricity Sector Recovery Project which has been ongoing since December of 2021. For this project, the Somali Federal Government is the borrower, and the financing agreement is signed by Somalia’s former Minister of Finance Dr. Abdirahman Duale Beileh.
The World Bank document breaks down the project into four major components
- Component 1 –Subtransmission and distribution network reconstruction, reinforcement and operations efficiency in the major load centers of Mogadishu and Hargeisa
- Component 2 –Hybridization and battery storage systems for minigrids
- Component 3 – Stand-alone solar off-grid access to public institutions (health and education)
- Component 4 -Institutional development and capacity building
There is no indication that the government of Somaliland has entered any sort of agreement with the World Bank as a direct recipient of funds, instead, the financing agreement signed by Somalia’s former Minister of Finance Dr. Beileh with the World Bank points to a separate agreement called Somaliland Subsidiary Agreement that Somaliland has signed with Somalia as an implementing partner. In addition, the financing agreement’s definitions sections describe Somaliland as a Federal Member State.
Another curious document is the Stakeholder Engagement Plan – SEP submitted to the World Bank by Somalia’s Ministry of Energy and Water Resources (MoEWR) which has an entire section on titled Public Consultation Meeting in Somaliland held by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals in Hargeisa on April 2021. It is unclear if this detailed information was summitted to Somalia’s Federal Government or the World Bank as part of the Somaliland Subsidiary Agreement.
It is unclear what compelled Somaliland to accept this project in its current form, where it is openly considered a Member State of Somalia and entering an agreement with Somalia as an implementing partner when in the past, it has signed directly engaged with the World Bank without Somalia as an intermediary. The Civil Service Strengthening project funded by the World Bank was signed by Dr. Sa’ad Ali Shire, who at the time was Somaliland’s Foreign Minister.
Despite being an independent nation and seeking international recognition, the government of Somaliland routinely sends conflicting signals to the world about the level of seriousness in its case for independence and undermines its sovereignty.
The World Bank did not respond to our request seeking the Somaliland Subsidiary Agreement, and our efforts to reach officials from the Ministry of Energy and Minerals for clarification on the project were unsuccessful.