Somaliland Mission to the UK, and the Commonwealth
„How are you going to make money in a country that doesn’t even exist?“ That was probably the question that many people had at the back of their minds when Mohammed Yusef told them he would invest in Somaliland. Others perhaps did not even know Somaliland had declared independence from Somalia in 1991 and that, in spite of not having been recognised internationally, it does have – unlike Somalia – a working political system and a strong business sector. Mr Yusef of course knew. Although he now manages a very successful investment firm in the United Kingdom, Invicta Capital Limited, he has always kept in touch with the land where he was born six decades ago, while it still was a British protectorate.“If what my parents say is true, I always had a mentality for trade, for business, and it’s not inconsistent with the family history because the family originated from a fishing village on the Gulf of Aden,“ he told the BBC’s series African Dream.
„My great-grandfather was one of those people that would trade with Aden.“
Mr Yusef was educated in the UK where he trained as a solicitor and practiced as a commercial lawyer before starting his own law practice specializing in commercial law, copyright and media law in London In 1999 he founded Invicta, a private equity firm providing finance for the media, commercial property and renewable energy sectors which, according to its website, has raised over £1.4bn ($2.3bn) of investment capital. Minding the gap His Somaliland business is handled through a company called Prime Resources which has a staff of nine people in Hargeisa, the capital.
First business venture: buying and selling a film library
Trained as a solicitor
Practiced as a commercial lawyer before founding his own law practice in London
Founded Invicta Capital in 1999
His Somaliland business is handled through a company called Prime Resources
Prime has a staff of nine people in Hargeisa
According to him, the firm has invested in mining, and oil and gas exploration and is about to embark on a $40m exploration programme. It is also evaluating business opportunities in Somalia in the agricultural and property sectors. „When I first started looking at investment in Somaliland even my professional colleagues would say: ‚You’re mad. This doesn’t make any sense‘,“ he remembers.„Not only did they confuse Somaliland with Somalia but it does have the problem of being an unrecognised country,“ he told the BBC’s Mary Harper. „But actually nobody ever made money from following the herd and the most money is often to be made where there is a mismatch between what people perceive to be the place and the reality of what it is, and Somaliland is exactly in those kinds of circumstances where there is a huge gap between the reality and the perception.“
„So actually there is a method to my madness and it isn’t inconsistent with the basic principles of business: Go find yourself a situation that nobody else has spotted and be prepared to hang on in there while everybody else catches up.“ „There is no inconsistency between what we look for when we invest in an opportunity here [in London] and what we look for over there, except that the potential rewards in Somaliland are far greater, ironically.“