Following a scoping mission to Hargeisa during which LASER explored opportunities for engagement through discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, LASER identified a clear need for, and opportunity to support, the strengthening of commercial law and justice in Somaliland. In February 2015, following a request by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, LASER deployed a Resident Adviser who provided support to:

  • Strengthen the capacity of the Somaliland Trade Committee and its ability to identify its priorities / options for trade negotiation
  • Help raise the profile of Somaliland as an investor friendly environment
  • Increase understanding of problems affecting energy regulations and a feasible way forward
  • Increase knowledge of the options for introducing alternative dispute resolution

Trade & FDI
LASER played an active part in the negotiation of a bilateral transit agreement between the Government of Somaliland ( and the Government of Ethiopia covering the utilisation of Berbera Port, which was signed in April 2016. In particular, LASER assisted in the training of negotiators involved in the trade agreement and the negotiations. LASER also supported the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Affairs in a wide range of activities and internal capacity building to support engagement with foreign investors.

Energy regulation
LASER supported Somaliland’s Energy Secretariat to develop a politically informed Electricity Action Plan. LASER also supported the Government of Somaliland to establish a relationship with Slaughter & May, an international law firm who provided nearly £90k of pro bono legal input into the drafting of electricity regulation.

At the request of the Government of Somaliland, LASER produced a paper identifying options for and international comparisons on alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The paper was aimed at informing thinking on suitable ADR mechanisms in Somaliland, particularly for large and foreign investors.

Establishing relationships
LASER supported the Government of Somaliland to develop a relationship with TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), which resulted in continued funding for activities initiated under LASER, through its ‘good neighbour’ initiative.