Dubai: Two years ago, Dubai’s state-owned P&O Ports was awarded a 30-year, $336 million concession for the management and development of a port project in Somalia’s breakaway region of Puntland.

At the time, the announcement was hailed by Abdiweli Mohammaad Ali, the President of Puntland, as a “huge undertaking” that would “greatly contribute to the infrastructure development in Somalia.”

Puntland, a region in northeastern Somalia, is a federal member state of Somalia. It was established in 1998 before the formation of the federal government in 2004.

Strategically located, Puntland is the only state that borders both the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, sitting along a number of key shipping routes.

DP World, the Dubai port operator, has made significant expansions in to the Horn of Africa region in recent years, establishing ports in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somaliland, where the company pledged to spend up to $440 million developing the Berbera port.

Somalia, which has been mired in conflict since 1991, has strong ties to the UAE, which has historically been one of its largest trading partners. The pair have also collaborated in the fight against terrorism, illegal human trafficking, illegal fishing and piracy.