Achievements against all the odds
1. Economic advancement
- Over two decades, Somaliland has built a successful market economy, with GDP rising to $350 per capita – higher than Tanzania ($280), Eritrea ($190) and Ethiopia ($100).
- Somaliland’s private sector has enjoyed sustained growth, catalysed by low levels of regulation and a comparatively small government bureaucracy. A number of government services, such as vehicle licensing, are delivered through local businesses.
- Total Somaliland central government income has increased over the last few years and is expected to be $147m this year (2012). This is still very small for the needs of the country but the increase shows a steady improvement in revenue collection for public services.
- Somaliland is notable for its thriving livestock export. In 2011, 3.1 million sheep/goats and 257,000 cattle/camels were exported to the Middle East. Livestock remain the mainstay of Somaliland’s economy.
- There is a thriving services sector, which hosts a number of major international businesses, includingDaallo airlines, which operates across the world, and the Dahabshiil money transfer company, the largest in the region.
- Somaliland boasts a highly competitive telecoms industry, providing mobile and landline services that are among the cheapest in Africa.
- In 2010, Somaliland Beverage Industries made the country’s single biggest investment to date – opening a $17 million Coca-Cola production facility to supply the region. The factory has plans to expand into producing Dasani water and Minute Maid juices in 2013.
- Confidence in the country is reflected in the return of tens of thousands of people from the diaspora. Fifteen out of 32 Cabinet and Ministerial positions in the current administration are made up of Somalilanders who have returned from abroad. Somaliland is moving to develop what is estimated to be highly significant hydrocarbon reserves in the country.
- A 2D seismic survey of offshore Somaliland, consisting of 5,100 KM of modern seismic data (and an on-shore program of 34,600 kilometres of aeromagnetic data collection) was undertaken in 2008/9. Three international companies have signed Production Sharing Agreements with the government and are involved in early-stage surveying.
- Airborne survey and 2D Seismic surveying in Togdher Region will begin in December 2012 by Genel Energy.
- The first exploratory drilling programmes are expected to start in early 2014
- Somaliland is in the process of exploiting proven reserves of iron, manganese and coal.
- Minerals and Mining Ltd, a Swiss company, has signed an agreement with the government to mine minerals in the country.
- Somaliland will start producing in mid-2013, exporting an estimated half a million tonnes within five years.
- Nubian Gold of Canada is currently prospecting for various minerals in the Maroodijeex/Gabley region.
- Somaliland receives significant remittances from the diaspora, valued at about $800 million annually.
- Somaliland has quietly emerged as a reliable trading post along the Gulf of Aden, which World Bank Africa Region Chief Economist Shanta Devarajan has hailed as a “success story” in Africa. The World Bank has assisted in the recent production of “Doing Business in Hargeisa”. The report comments that despite conflict and fragility in the surrounding region, the “relative peace and security in Hargeisa in the past decade has allowed a vibrant private sector to develop” and “that the government has made strides setting up some of the institutions and rules necessary for businesses to operate”.
- Somaliland is connected to the rest of the world by Berbera airport, which has one of the longest runways in Africa as well as Hargeisa International Airport, which is undergoing extensive modernisation. The country has made profitable deals with international companies such as Ethiopian Airlines.
- Berbera port already serves imports and exports to and from Somaliland as well as the neighbouring countries of Ethiopia and Somalia.
- Tourism is a potential growth industry, with historic towns, offshore islands and coral reefs providing major attractions.
2. Peace and security
- Somaliland co-operates willingly with its neighbours and the international community in the fight against terrorism by sharing information about potential threats, enforcing a UN arms embargo against Somalia and policing its own territory.
- Somaliland’s constitution is unique in committing the state and nation to combatting terrorism “regardless of motives”.
- Somaliland has effectively tackled piracy along its coastline, ensuring that the waters off Somaliland’s coast are largely free from pirate attacks. Nearly 90 pirates are currently in prison in Hargeisa.
- Somaliland has demobilised clan militia, integrating them into unified police and military forces in the early 1990s.
- Somaliland has removed and destroyed tens of thousands of landmines
- During the war, it is estimated that a million mines were planted in Somaliland, making it “among the most mine-polluted territories on the planet”.
3. Democratic governance
- In 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2010 Somaliland held local government, presidential and parliamentary elections monitored by international observers – “all of which were largely free and fair.”
- Somaliland has seen peaceful transfers of power during all its elections, including the 2003 Presidential election, which was won with a wafer-thin majority of 227 votes – one of the closest ever margins in an African Presidential contest.
- Somaliland has established a highly progressive constitution, which entrenchesthe separation of power between the three arms of government, balances representative democracy with traditional governance institutions, ensures the existence of active opposition political parties and a free and pluralistic media.
- Somaliland has developed a unique form of governance that could serve as a model for state-building in other parts of the world. Somaliland has proved that traditional social systems can be fused successfully with modern democratic principles to create popular and sustainable governments.
- After winning independence, the Somali National Movement worked to establish a civilian representative government. In so doing it has been credited as “one of the few movements in contemporary African history to have effectively dealt themselves out of power.”
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