Monday, October 07, 2013


Kenyan companies have signed up to participate in the first regional investment conference on Somalia to be held in Nairobi on Tuesday. The two-day Somalia Reconstruction and Investment Conference and Exhibition (SORIC) at the KICC in Nairobi has brought together local and international organisations to back the event which has been organised to showcase the potential of the war-torn country as well as encourage investors to invest in the country. 

Equity Bank, Deloitte, Astral Aviation, National Bank, Chase Bank and Athi River Steel Plant are some of the Kenyan companies that have come on board to support the two-day conference.

International organisations FAO and ILO are also sponsors. “We have seen immense opportunities in Somalia.

It is a place with many opportunities, where we can create new businesses and synergies,” said Astral Aviation chief executive Sanjeev Gadhia. Astral Aviation, a cargo airline, operates daily flights to Mogadishu.

Showcase opportunities
The event is expected to bring together key policymakers from Somalia and Somaliland, international and regional development organizations to showcase opportunities in the country working to rebuild itself after years of internal strife.
Mr Hasan Noor, chief executive of HanVard Africa, the event organisers, said Somalia is ready to show the world it is ready for business and be a part of regional organisations including the East Africa Community and Comesa.
“Our development as a country is connected in the region; we want to be part of the region. We are keen and open to do business,” he said. “New frontiers will be created with partnerships formed at the event.”
The forum comes two weeks after the London Somalia Conference organised by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 
The conference, which was attended by President Uhuru Kenyatta, saw the British government along with other western government pledge £200 million to help rebuild the country—through creating systems and help establish a strong government. 

Dr Mark Smith, a partner at Deloitte, says the country’s key focus should be to seek development of its agriculture, mining, oil and gas as well as basic infrastructure from roads to rail.