Opinion: Could Somalia become the next Texas?

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By: His Excellency Abdirashid Mohamed Ahmed, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources of the Federal Republic of Somalia.

The story of Somalia is being rewritten, and Texas’s oil boom of the early 20th century is a good marker for the future of the African country. Texas oil drove the economy forward, bringing better education with investment in infrastructure and transport links. This shows Somalis what our nation maybe, in time and with careful management.

Significant early progress is being made in Somalia, a country with a similar land mass to Texas. The government recently passed the groundbreaking Petroleum Law which marks a new chapter in our country’s history.

This landmark new petroleum law, as its name implies, is about oil. It sets out the financial and regulatory framework that enables our government to finally explore whether reserves of oil and gas exist, as so long as suspected, off the Somalian coastline. But, even more importantly, the law ensures that any oil discovered is the sole property of the Somali people — today and in the future. The state of Texas is a testament to how oil can provide the necessary resources to invest in vital infrastructure that is so crucial for our future sustained prosperity. Much of what is seen in Houston today — transport links, employment, education — is as a result of oil.

In late September, we were also delighted to sign an agreement with Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil settling historic obligations and initiating a roadmap enabling the conversion of concessions into production sharing agreements. We are at the beginning of a journey that could be key to sustainable development and poverty reduction, as well as the continued development of the stable state and civil institutions.

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