First Hectares appointed Executive Management of Free Zone Investment Authority, South West State of Somalia; Erik Prince, Frontier Services Group, appointed Project Management Organization

South West State of Somalia President appoints former East African refugee & Dubai industrial leader, Prof. Issa Baluch, and First Hectares Capital, to serve as Executive Management of its new Free Zone Investment Authority (FZIA)

FZIA will organize public and private infrastructure and investment initiatives to serve returning refugees, IDP, diaspora, and international development. First Hectares Capital Co-Founder and CEO, Jon Vandenheuvel, will be interim FZIA Executive Director; Frontier Services Group, chaired by U.S. entrepreneur Erik Prince, will be Project Management Organization for FZIA, providing logistics, aviation, and security services.


Sunday, June 25, 2017                                                                                                              

DUBAI, UAE – First Hectares Capital (FHC), an international project development company founded by Dubai freight and logistics industry leader, Professor Issa Baluch, himself a former East African refugee, and U.S. executive Mr. Jon Vandenheuvel, has been appointed to serve as Executive Management of the Free Zone Investment Authority (FZIA) of South West State of Somalia. Mr. Vandenheuvel, CEO of First Hectares, will serve as interim FZIA Executive Director. AKILI, the non-profit research and training initiative organized by the principals of First Hectares Capital, will provide developmental training for youth and professionals. (

FZIA is a private sector-led agency of the South West State Administration created to promote investment in the South West State, create jobs, and help stabilize the region economically for internally displaced persons (IDP), returning refugees, and diaspora seeking to engage and invest in their homeland.  FZIA was commissioned by His Excellency Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, President of the South West State of Somalia, on June 9, 2017.

President Sharif and FZIA also announced the appointment of Frontier Services Group (FSG), a publicly-traded Hong Kong-based project management firm chaired by American entrepreneur Mr. Erik Prince, to serve as Project Management Organization of the FZIA. Mr. Omri Cohen, Managing Director for East Africa, will be project lead.

President Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden made the following statement:

“The team of First Hectares Capital and Frontier Services Group not only has the international and regional experience, but most importantly, they have exhibited a passion for the people of Somalia that will help us build opportunities for those who have suffered long enough.”

Issa Baluch added:

“As a former refugee from East Africa, it is a great honor to accept this appointment to help the South West State prepare for international investment in infrastructure and local enterprises which will help alleviate the suffering that has been endured for far too long.”

Erik Prince added:

“FSG has a proven track record of being able to manage complex projects across challenging terrains and is therefore perfectly placed to provide support for this important new project in Somalia."

Jon Vandenheuvel added:

“FZIA’s objective is a world-class special economic zone, operating efficiently as a single window agency for developmental projects, Somali entrepreneurs and international investors, the drivers of Somalia’s hopeful future.”