Exclusive Interview with Dr. Issa Kayd, Somaliland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

Somaliland Chronicle: It has been a year and seven months years since Somaliland and Taiwan have established bilateral ties and signed agreements on cooperation on the sectors of Health, Agriculture and Information Technology, there is a sense that Somaliland has turned Taiwan into yet another aid agency and nothing tangible was achieved so far. What is your view on what Taiwan and Somaliland has achieved together so far and where do you see this relationship in the future?

Dr. Kayd: We have already achieved tremendous things together but there are always more opportunities for even greater cooperation between our nations. We a resource-rich country, we are asking Taiwan a hand on many fronts to fuel Somaliland’s development in responsibly exploring its abundant natural resources.

What we want from Taiwan is mainly knowledge transfer in the areas of cyber, security food and water security to ensure Somaliland is better prepared for the cyclical droughts exacerbated by climate change, commercial banking, and hydrological mapping to get a full sense of what minerals and other resources are present in our country to be able to attract and negotiate from a position of strength with extractive industry leaders.

On education, we are grateful for the scholarships that Taiwan has offered to our students but dozens of new graduates from Taiwanese universities are a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things and Somaliland needs thousands of subject matter experts in all sorts of disciplines so where we want to be with Taiwan is to get their higher education institutions to twin with public institutions to achieve this.

Another area that is extremely beneficial to both Taiwan and Somaliland is the Free Trade Zone where Taiwanese manufacturers can take full advantage of bringing their products closer to their end consumers in East Africa and beyond and even getting a leg up on their Chinese competitors.

Our intention is to take full control of our airspace and this is an area that Taiwan can be of great help to Somaliland, this is a priority for us and we believe we can learn from Taiwan’s vast expertise in this critical area.

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