“Eyl is a historic city. It was once a base for the Dervish leader Sayid Mohammed Abdille Hassan. One of the Dervish buildings built in 1904 is still standing” said Muuse Osman Yusuf, Eyl district commissioner. “
In socioeconomic terms, Eyl is dependent on livestock, seafood and agriculture affected by floods” Jama Salad, a businessman told the Puntland Post.
The treacherous gravel road off the Garowe – Bosaso road forms a key part of the itinerary if travelling in the region.
Torrential rains affect Eyl’s gravel road and force drivers to drive through sandy and rocky patches of land.
“There was a plan to build a paved road between Eyl and Garowe. There were tools and equipments of a Chinese company, [China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation Limited (CCECC)] at the gravel road to be used for construction of the road, but the company removed equipments and tools” added the Eyl District Commisioner.
In 2017, the former Puntland State President Abdiweli Mohammed Ali told local media that Puntland had “signed with CCECC an agreement to construct Eyl – Garowe road.” In 2017, the Puntland Parliament also passed two separate agreements signed with DP World — on the extension of Bosaso Port — and with CCECC for oil prospecting.
Whatsmore, Puntland had issued fishing licences to foreign trawlers until the Federal Government of Somalia banned licences issued by Federal Member States two years ago.
In the time since, Eyl has not benefited from revenues from issuing fishing licences and its own fishing industry has not recovered from the impact of illegal fishing, piracy and government-sanctioned overfishing by foreign vessels.
In May of 2019 Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni signed an agreement with CCECC to build a fishing port in Eyl.
None of the three agreements Puntland State signed with the Chinese company have been implemented.
“The economic potential of Eyl dwindles due to the heavily centralised Puntland State government and the ineffectual Parliament in Garowe” said Abdirashid Mohamud, a Nairobi-based postwar reconstruction expert.
“Eyl missed out on the infrastructure projects funded by the European Union. In my opinion commercially based infrastructural agreements signed by Puntland State with foreign companies put Eyl at a disadvantage when it comes development assistance from the European Union or multilateral organisations” added Abdirashid.
Abdiasis Busur, the Director of the Department of Social Services at Eyl commended the Puntland State government, however, for the progress in the delivery of basic services including mother and child centres built in villages outside Eyl.
“By basic services we mean education, hygiene and healthcare. Mothers in Dhigale village no longer travel to Eyl General Hospital thanks to the Joint Programme on Local Governance (JPLG) and Health and Education has Ministries” said Abdiasis.
This article first appeared in the © Puntland Post, 2021 and is republished with permission