Africa Chinese-built airport in Somalia to boost trade: officials
By Yao Lan
The inauguration of the Chinese-built Bosaso International Airport in northeast Somalia’s Puntland State last month is set to promote trade in the horn of Africa nation, authorities have said.
Speaking to Xinhua Thursday, Hassan Haji Said, the Minister of Civil Aviation and Airports of the Puntland State, said the airport will significantly boost trade between Puntland and the rest of Somalia while opening up the state for global commerce.
“The airport will have a great impact on the overall socio-economic development of Puntland as it is the first international airport in the Puntland. It will improve the connection between Puntland and the other regions of Somalia as well as the outside world. It will help improve the economy, commerce, investment and the job creation,” said the minister.
Bosaso, the commercial capital of Puntland with one of the busiest seaports in the country, will soon be the trade hub not just in Somalia, but in the Gulf region, Said added.
The construction company, China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), has also indicated the airport will open up trade between Somalia and China.
The airport, which has a capacity of 200,000 passengers per year, will equally boost Somalia-China trade, airport project manager Chen Wulin noted.
Chen concurs with the Somali minister that the construction of the airport was strategic for growth of commerce in Somalia as the country emerges from many years of civil war.
“Bosaso Airport is expected to play a very significant role in facilitating trade between China and Puntland, in the sense that it will not only promote the flow of goods and materials, but also will serve as a doorway to potential investors and entrepreneurs worldwide, thereby ushering in new industries, investment projects and jobs,” Chen told Xinhua.
He noted that the airport meets international standards and has been accepted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), adding that the airport is designed as a Class 4E airport which can handle Boeing 737 or equivalent large aircrafts.
According to the airport engineer Abdulkadir Ali, a total of 35 Chinese experts and 230 Somali workers were involved in the construction of the airport.
The aviation minister said the airport is fully managed by the Puntland Civil Aviation Authority, but noted the need for collaboration with Chinese experts especially on the possibility of future expansion.
Speaking during the opening of the facility last month, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said the construction was one of the major infrastructure developments, and a commitment towards the country’s recovery.