Published On: Mon, Mar 19th, 2012

The World’s Next State?

HARGEISA, Somaliland— If a country isn’t recognized, does it make a sound? Here in Somaliland, the semi-autonomous northern part of the failed state of Somalia, I discovered that the answer is an emphatic yes. The government in Mogadishu has virtually no influence in Hargeisa, the capital of Somaliland, or over the territory’s 3.5 million residents. Since 1991, when the end of Said Barre’s dictatorship plunged Somalia into anarchy, Somaliland has written its own Constitution, held four peaceful elections, established a central bank that prints its own currency, built schools and universities, and created an elaborate security apparatus that has managed to keep at bay terrorist groups like the Shabab, a Wahhabi group that operates with impunity in southern Somalia. Though Somaliland also borders the tempestuous Gulf of Aden, virtually no pirates haunt its coast. In fact, the maximum-security prison in Hargeisa currently holds some 70 accused pirates. During the drought that thrust the Horn of Africa back into the news last year, Somaliland dodged the worst effects of famine by spending around $10 million — a combination of government, private and diaspora resources — while in the south tons of food given by foreign groups were stolen. About 50 percent of the $43 million budget (pdf) goes to security and policing. When I left Hargeisa, the government mandated that I travel with an armed guard. Shukri Ismail, the only female on the first National Electoral Commission, told me locals tolerate such arrangements because “if you don’t live in peace, everything else is trivial.” This has left Somaliland with an ironic disadvantage: comparative stability. Unlike Eritrea, East Timor, Kosovo and South Sudan — recent additions to the community of nations — Somaliland goes about its business mostly free of violence or political infighting. And so it gets passed up for economic opportunities, like the $9 million job-creation grant the World Bank gave South Sudan earlier this month. Yet it needs them. The state power utility only reaches a fraction of the 1.2 million who live in Hargeisa, and the rest is provided privately at great expense. Piped water is also scarce, and secondary roads are crumbling in many places. Poor infrastructure is one reason Saad Shire, Somaliland’s minister for planning, is bullish about formal international recognition. He says independence would remove barriers to foreign assistance, foreign loans and foreign investment. For now, “very few people will venture to invest in a country that is not recognized,” Shire told me. The country’s cash comes from a small tax-base and remittances of about $500-600 million annually from Somaliland’s diaspora. Despite the potential benefits, foreign influence appears to be a pet peeve here. This is partly because of pride at what’s been accomplished without outside help. Ismail, currently the director of Candlelight, a prominent local NGO, said that during the drafting of the Somaliland Constitution in the early 1990s, “We were slaughtering our own goats, our own sheep, spending our own money collected penny by penny from the community.” And as Nicholas Eubank of Stanford has demonstrated, living largely without foreign aid or foreign intervention constrains resources in a way that leads to more inclusive government. Foreign meddling hasn’t done much good for Somalia proper. More than one person in Somaliland pointed out to me that the ineffectual Transitional Federal Government was born from diplomatic whirlpools such as the 2008 Djibouti Agreement (pdf), which ceased fire between the T.F.G. and armed opposition, and the 2011 Kampala Accord (pdf), which deferred elections and extended the T.F.G.’s mandate. In response to the chaos, Kenyan, Ethiopian and Ugandan troops are fighting a war in southern Somalia, with mounting civilian casualties. For the near future, Somaliland will be caught between disdaining foreign assistance and requiring it. A communiqué issued after a major summit meeting on Somalia in London last month “welcomed the success in some areas of Somalia in establishing local areas of stability” but made no mention of Somaliland’s campaign for independence. Countries outside of the region are loath to stretch their necks ahead of African governments or what leadership remains in Somalia itself. This irks young people in Somaliland, who have only known the region as a fledgling state. Suleiha, a 15-year-old student I met at Abaarso Tech, Somaliland’s top-flight boarding school, told me she was disappointed in the London summit. “We went to that meeting as Somalia, and I didn’t agree. We want to be our own country. We have achieved peace. We have our own government.”

Source: New York Times

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  1. SL: banana republic says:

    "Source: New York Times"

    There is no record in New York Times that such an article has ever been published by new york times.

    this is pathetic, why lie
    the mediocracy of the separatist is self evident and this articale reinforces it.

    • barwaaqo says:

      you might need to know this as well.… and Somaliland is invited to attend with other African nations. Ka naxow nafta waa.

      • inayuusuf says:

        Hi barwaaqo. I was particularly fascinated by these para:
        “The 3rd Eastern Africa Oil, Gas & Energy Week will showcase the regional oil, gas and energy game in over a dozen states: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Zambia, Eritrea, Somaliland, Seychelles, Madagascar and Mocambique.”
        “Keynote Government addresses include the following: Patrick Nyoike, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Kenya; The Hon Elizabeth James Bol, Ministry of Petroleum & Mines, Republic of South Sudan; as well as senior Government representatives from Mocambique, Uganda, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, Eritrea and Somaliland.”
        Yes.. ka naxoow nafta waa!

    • somalilander snm says:

      hope u read tha link wich brother ibraham gave u stupid ! yes somaliland is banan and is gonna stick ure ass stupid

    • 007hargeisa says:

      You are so hateful u will never see or say any positive thing about Somaliland. I think its wise if you spend your energy to help and build "Somalia" the joke of the world. It's too late Somaliland already passed the point of no return.

  2. osman5 says:

    Remarkable….Congrats to Somalilanders and their friends around the world. Somaliland's recognition as a state is around the corner.

    osman Qaal

  3. F.A. says:

    Mashallah, Thank you Allah for everything. Amin

  4. Khalid says:

    Why always compare SL to South Sudan? The two territories are different, totally different, The South Sudan separated from the North for cultural and religious differences, Somaliland has no reason to seek separation from Somalia, we share culture and religion no need for separation, autonomy yes, So the bottom line is that the dream of splitting the country is gone, Khaatumo and Awdal State emerged from Sl wich is recognized by the federal government. it's a matter of time before one tribe dominated Hargeisa adminstration realizes that they better drop this separatist idea.

    • Jambazi says:

      As a matter fact, your argument is illogical and lopsided. If we share common language and culture "what is the big deal about" which can make Somaliland not separate. FYI, if your nimble argument was to be used, then it would not stand on own and will collapse from following counter argument.
      There are many countries who share same culture, language and religion but have decided to be separate countries. In the middle east, there are more than twenty Arab countries who share same everything but they are separate states. Similarly, most of Latin American nation like Chile, Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Peru and Ecuador all share same language, culture and religion but still they are separate state. How about Djibouti, Kilik-5 or NFD why are you not crying after these territories, are there no somali people in Djibouti or Kilik-5. This proves your mental inadequacy and your against Somaliland because of hate and jealousy.
      Finally, a short riposte about khatumo-seeg and whatever you mentioned, it seems you have just risen from the cave you were hibernating in. Do you think khatum-seeg will derail the aspiration of the majority people who want an independent Somaliland, that will never happen. Either you will accept the decision of the majority or you will find you find yourself in dhadhab or utange.

      • Dija Dajiya says:

        ''Finally, a short riposte about khatumo-seeg and whatever you mentioned, it seems you have just risen from the cave you were hibernating in. Do you think khatum-seeg will derail the aspiration of the majority people who want an independent Somaliland, that will never happen. Either you will accept the decision of the majority or you will find you find yourself in dhadhab or utange. ''

        Well said!

        Afkaaga caano lagu qabay :)

        • najiib says:

          There no need all This lecturing The Answer is simple,every one knows These Latin amercan countries have some…… Language & religion,remember spanish Div
          ided cause They have natural resources Oil,gas,iron ore etc,so The spanish can Control indivdually s/l what do you have
          Nothing no resources no man Power to….
          Get recognize what can you afford to The
          World,kilka5 They have not declare… Independent from somalia They are…… Fighting Their land & will get There (mr
          Jambanzi informer) NFD 1964 agreement Betwen somali gover & uk gover said 2004
          NFD will be return to somalia They have Not declare independent from somalia….
          (The problem is s/l They are shouting And no one is hearing Them)khatumo state
          Will run Their regions independently… From Hargeysa enclave tribe run state & Stay within somali states”ninkii dhoof ku yimaada ayey geeridu dhibeysaa”
          If could… Understand The meaning Of.. This sentence.

      • najiib says:

        There is no need This lecturing The answ
        er is simple,yes all These countries The
        y have commen language & religion every one knows That,remember spanish diveded This countries cause They have natural r
        esources what do you have s/l nil no res
        ources no man power,to get a recognize y
        ou need to afford something to The world
        kilir5 They didn not declare independent
        from somalia They are fighting Their lan
        d & will get There (mr jabanze informer)
        NFD 1964 agreement between somali gove &
        uk gover said NFD will return to somalia
        2004 They did not declare independent fr
        om somalia,khatuumo state will run Their
        regions sool,sanaag independly from harg
        eysa tribe run state & remain wirhin som
        alia”ninkii dhoof ku yimaada ayey geerid
        u dhibeysaa” if could understand this se

        • Jambazi says:

          So in your mental ineptness you think, in 2004 Kenya will return to NFD to Somalia and 2004 has already gone and NFD is still part os Kenya. And to make the matter worse Kenya's military is inside Somalia with sole purpose of curving and annexing some more. While Ethiopian tribes are, each and everyday grabbing land from somalis of Kilik-5. In addition to all this, as if it is not enough with the cannibalizing the carcases of the former defunct Somalia, your own venal, self gratifying, corrupt and incompetent govern the so-called TFG has sold a chunk of somalia's territorial waters up to near Kismayo coastal area to Kenya. And Kenya at this particular moment are drilling oil in somalia's territorial waters. And you have the chutzpah to talk about Somaliland. Faqaashti iyo walaweynti waxaa kasoo hadhee Somaliland magoeeso, dhulkooda lakala qaybsadeena maa arkeyaan, duuli foqaal duuli. Waxaan waax kaa duulisan illahay maaburin. While you are shedding crocodile tears crying after people have reached an irrevocable decision, people who have built their country pulling themselves by the boot string and everyday they are soldiering ahead go liberate you country from HIV suffering monkeys from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, and Ethiopia.

          • najiib says:

            Of course NFD will return to somalia if The people want’s That,yes 2004 is gone But central goverm collapses so no one Can negotiate to The kenyans,about The Issue of land & ocean oil drilling it’s All lie There no proof for That,do not Give me Things They write on The papers Or download one artical,kenyans They.. Cross 98km into somali territories They Already paying price They lost more… Than 150 soldiers & resistance is…… Getting tougher by The day,kilarka5 also
            There no proof tribes from ethopains are
            Accupying somali land “i mean real Somali-land in ethoipia not The fake… One” if That happens it will be war…. Also Those tribes They have enough land To live on,unless you wish That,about The liberation remember What happen to The ethoipians 2006 12,000 ethiopian Army dead & 17,000 somalis dead They Could not sleep night & day, so once we Lift That AK47 we will not stop until We kick asses ” do not tell me……. Somalis can not liberate Thier land That Is nonsence” MR jambazi informer By The Way how about The ethiopains who live.. In hargeysa whether They are Informers Or normal people did you Check Their Medical condition if HIV or Not,no one Is shedding any tears or…. Tufs to small Encalve run by one…… Tribeeeee,The……. Decition made Small enclave That is not Concern to Anyone,but There will be no Recognition What soo ever(you get That)

    • Xarago says:

      Sxb your right Somalia is same religion same culture there is no need for separation unity is important.

    • 007hargeisa says:

      What an idiotic argument to say that Somalia and Somaliland cannot separate because of shared culture and religion. Why don't you take the microphone and tell that to the savages of Somalia…..and we will see if it works.

  5. osman5 says:

    The author forgotten to mention that Somaliand was well prepared to deal with the greatest famine hit East Africa in last year. As a result, Somaliland did not lose as many lives as the rest of East African countries did.

    Somaliland donated a significant amount of money as well as moral support to those affected by famine in Somalia triggered by the worst droughts swept throughout East Africa in 60 years.

    Somalilanders rescued Somalis last year not because we're paving the way for future ties with them but rather realized the magnitude of the human tragedy unfolding then acted on it accordingly in the most human way.That's who we're!

    Osman Qaal

  6. mohamed cheers says:

    Indeed a well illustrated and articulated piece of good journalistic workshop contributed to
    the New York Times on 19 March 2012 by Dayo Olopade who's a Journalist covering global politics and development policy. She is writing a book about innovation in Africa. Hopefully as the Author
    forecasts, the World's next State would be Somaliland. Perhaps the Obama Democratic Govt.
    and his able secretary of State Hillary Clinton could make lee way to this cause to show some
    goodwill contributive gesture to satisfy the ever growing suspecions of the Islamic World!
    What a fair deal. my deep thanks goes to mme Dayo..kindly keep up the pressure. Who knows
    it might work sooner than any speculation.

  7. Dija Dajiya says:

    Excellent article!

    We should always welcome and applaud friends of Somaliland, such as this brilliant African journalist DAYO OLOPADE I sent her a personal Thank You via her twitter account.

    Also, I found myself literally Laughing Out Loud at the first comment; you had me at ''Banana Republic.'' As wise man once said "HatersGonna Hate"

    Somaliland Ha Noolaato :)

  8. ComeAgain says:

    Inayusuuf you are my new cyber bff (best friend for life) gonna use that ka naaxow naafta wa lmaooooo

    These somalis from Somalia sh ysters are zombies, they want to eat our brains because they have none!

    "You have to get them in the head!" – some actor from night of the living dead

  9. ComeAgain says:

    P.S. We dont grow bananas thats Somalia the banana republic! Somaliland we grow figs, olives and dates!

    Banana kulaha aint no ja re er over here bro!

    • Abraham says:

      Shame on you !! What is wrong with the Jareer people? They are Muslim and Somali like you so stop disrespecting them.

      • amal says:

        I thought jareer was just an insult and made up name,but there are real people called jareer in the south and they are nice people because the jareer community who live in hargeisa has shown their full support of independent Somaliland. They are better than the other walawaynians because they are more sincere and less clanish. Anyways they are our Somali brothers and sisters

    • Jambazi says:

      As matter of fact, Banana republic was coined as are result of banana growing nations of central America. In this nations, the CIA created havoc and mayhem by supporting insurgency, toppling democratically elected regimes, so that USA's fruit companies like Doll could have access to banana plantations. So banana republic is not about dysfunctional state. If banana republic is equated with dysfunctionalism then USA will be the biggest banana republic. Dysfunctional state are like somalia and they are called failed states.

    • saraaji ahmed says:

      Banana can’t grow s/l becuase The Land is barren or any fruit in That matter. They only grow people who are craving Recognition which it’s not coming

  10. Omer Hussein Dualeh says:

    The article is relatively good, but does not speak in-depth about what Somaliland has achieved and continue to achieve day-in-day-out. The author did not talk about our national organs and how they work, and interviews made was minimal to know more about what we have done. Furthermore, the London conference as the author said was not about Somaliland and its guest for statehood, but was for Somalia and how to deal with its problems. He/She did not mention what we said in that conference and how the international audience welcomed what we have achieved.

    Hence, to summarise it, the article does not give much info about Somaliland.

  11. Ali says:

    Yeah its around the Corner!! waiting………………………………………………………………

  12. xayd mulaxo says:

    Somaliland has its history and legacy those who deny it are bound to fail.khatumo is a bantustan or cyber tripal state dreamt by unrepenrent former dictators helpers.khatumoseeg. an't no stopping us now are on the move.

  13. Farhaan Faarah says:

    Khatumo waa taa oo ku wastay.

  14. Mohamed Duale says:

    I have to first commend Mr Daya Olopade for writing this wonderful article and We, Somalilanders have to always welcome and applaud any one who acknowledges our oasis of peace, democracy and tranquility in our country. On the contrary, the article does not cover profoundly about what Somaliland has achieved and our national institutions. I think, the problem in Somaliland is that Foreign journalists are not guarded well and they are always mislead by people call themselves experts, those who have no good understanding Somaliland’s democration or political process

  15. Gobaad says:

    We (Somalilanders) do not consider ourselves semi-autonomous northern part of the fail-state of Somalia. Puntland is and not Somaliland. Since we retreated from the ill-fated union 21 years ago, Somalia had no jurisdiction or influence in Somaliland affairs whatsoever.

    Somaliland was a full-fledged Independent Country with over 35 countries' recognition under its belt who voluntarily united with Somalia. And when things did not work the way we wanted, Somaliland decided to revert to its previous statehood. The only thing we need now is the re-recognition from the International Community and the blessings and good fences that will make good neighbours from Somalia. Nothing more, nothing less and anybody who thinks otherwise is delusional.

    • saraaji ahmed says:

      hahaa look it’s very simple & clear no Need to say This and That,if you have Brain That is working international *** Community They are The one who holding Your tiny hargeysa administration it has
      Nothing to do somalis from north, south Central or east,international community They known you have nothing to give back
      And Things makes more worse Than ever** Khaatumo & awdal states They want to go Their own way,international community They are aware This also.

      • Gobaad says:

        saraaji ahmed, go and take your buulcaws with you. Good riddance of a bad rubbish! I should say.

        • saraaji ahmed says:

          You should know What it’s reality & what
          It’s fiction,well we May say god save.. Somalis from north,south,central,east But nothing will save somaliland******* Becoming seme-autonomous state.

        • saraaji ahmed says:

          You should know What it’s reality & what
          It’s fiction,well we May say god save.. Somalis from north,south,central,east But nothing will save somaliland******* Becoming semi-autonomous state.

  16. Mohamed Duale says:

    Well Said Gobaad.

  17. Khalid says:

    Interesting article, however it would be nice if the author used paragraphs or indentations to make it less stressful on the eyes.

  18. Hargeisawi-In-London says:


    These ignorant people don't seem to appreciate that Somaliland has never been a part of Somalia — i.e., Somaliland is, like Somalia, one of the Five Somali Territories: Somalia, Djibouti, Somaliland, Ogaden, and NFD.

    So perhaps you forgot to mention that (a) Somaliland went into a "union" with Somalia to form the now defunct "Somali Republic" and (b) the legal basis for the existence of the so-called Somali Republic under international law was questionable in the first place, because the people of Somaliland overwhelmingly rejected the Union Constitution when it was put to a national referendum in 1961.

  19. Gobaad says:

    Hargeisawi-In-London, pardon my ignorance! I never knew there was a Union Constitution that was put to a national referendum in 1961 and this is the first time I hear about it.

  20. ComeAgain says:

    There never was a Union Consitution! The union itself is illegal! it was never ratified and Landers had a referendum and turned it down! There techinically is NO UNION! We have always been free and will continue to be so!

    I say we get international lawyers on this and sue! Seriously, not just Somalia but the countries that step in our way for Human Rights violations!

  21. Yusuf says:

    @ ComeAgain

    Just a correction, we have never been free before the Burao conference, but were under Somalia occupation. You are right, the 1961 constitution was reject by Somalilanders, the democratically elected Somaliland assembly didn't rectify the Union and Somaliland was annexed through an illegal Presidential decree. For further information, please read Mr. John Draysdale's manuscript written 2001-2002

  22. Iron says:

    i smell the writer and sl banana republic are one and the same person
    just correction s/l did ratify the union and it was as usual the south who did not ratify because of not respecting the rule of law.

  23. Hargeisawi-In-London says:


    Take a look at
    If you want, I can point you to some references that discuss this issue in depth.

    At any rate, Somaliland was a state under international law and acquired that status on its independence from the UK on 26th June 1960 — Somaliland had a constitution, an elected government, a legislature and a judiciary. ( In fact, Somaliland, as an independent state, entered into various treaties with the UK.) This was the reason why a Union Constitution rectified by both parties (Somaliland and Somalia) was required — it was a must . However, as I said before, the people of Somaliland rejected the "Union Constitution". Thus our withdrawal (unilaterally or not) from that dubious union is legally impeccable.

    You see, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out the reasons why anti-Somaliland groups are so desperate to coerce us (by any means ) into partaking of conferences on Somalia as participants, not as observers. Fortunately, we came out the London Conference OK not due to our FM's diplomatic skills, but (mainly) because of the diligence and hard work of our community in GB.

    Of course, the so-called "SSC"/ Khatuma is part of their ploy and strategy to undermine Somaliland's legal case, but this can be easily thwarted.

    I would like to clarify one thing, though: As in all former colonies/protectorates which attained independence in 1960, Somaliland was welcomed to the comity of nations by about 35 countries. But diplomatic exchanges with all the countries that welcomed its independence and statehood did not take place, because there was no time — five days after our independence we went into a "union" with Somalia.

    • Gobaad says:

      Thank you, Hargeisawi-In-London. It is an excellent piece of writing by our former first "son" a tiger in a fighting mood, very informative and very educational. It also gives me more ammunition to discredit Walawyen who have the audacity to dismiss Somaliland's right to revert to its previous statehood.

      Good job, Prince Ahmed. I recommend Somalilanders to read the article.

  24. amal says:

    I agree with you, we were more of under occupation and were illegally consumed by Somalia. I think most are aware of our history but are putting a blind eye to it. Maybe we should hire you to argue our case :)

    But it looks likes our recognition is eminent very soon inshAllah and we have achieved a lot of acknowledgment than before and are being treated as a separate and equal entity to Somalia even in the coming dialogue. But We should hire lawyers and lobby harder because our rightful and formal sovereign statehood cannot be delayed any further.These people base their whole argument in one language, one culture and one race whilst they have no problem with the like of Djibouti. I guess 'one this one that' crap is what blinded us in the first place and nor did it work. Anyways our case of recognition now is matter of when and not if so don't worry

    • saraaji ahmed says:

      It’s not only language,race,religion…
      I spoke one of The well known lawyer About This issue & he told me if The… Hargeysa administralion have any of These natural resources oil,gas,etc we Will lobby for Them,put he said…… Ufortunately They don’t have it.

  25. amal says:

    above comment is to Hargeisawi-In-London, our next FM lol

    • Hargeisawi-In-London says:

      "…..Maybe we should HIRE you to argue our case…"

      "Hire me" ? Aga! Adow gaa Alla ma gube hay caayin :-) ! In my teens I put my life on the line for our freedom.

      "…..they have no problem with the like of Djibouti…"


      Somaliland is an anathema to them, but Djibouti is their little darling who never puts a foot wrong — what a bunch of hypocrites !!!

      • amal says:

        llol my bad wrong word, I meant to say we should choose you to be the new FM to argue our case since you are well informed

        So you’ve participated in the struggle of s.n.m warriors against the faqash in your teens, wow you must have seen a lot then. Somalilanders shed their blood and put their life at risk so we should not take our freedom for granted and it is our duty now to use all our abilities and effort to make it flourish and succeed.

        Somaliland is an anathema to them but they can bark as much as they want because we sailed on

  26. Gobaad says:

    Thank you, Hargeisawi-In-London. It is an excellent piece of writing by our former first "son" a tiger in a fighting mood, very informative and very educational. It also gives me more ammunition to discredit Walawyen who have the audacity to dismiss Somaliland's right to revert to its previous statehood.

    Good job, Prince Ahmed. I recommend Somalilanders to read the article.

  27. Omer Hussein Dualeh says:

    I have read the article of Ahmed Mohamed long back and Somaliland warriors know his knowledge and we will not tell those stupids. The reason we went there was our long running lack of trust to each other, and I hope we will not repeat it again. The sign have been long coming since we diclared our withdrawal, but as you heard yesterday, the Prime Minister of Somalia said, Somaliland representatives are in our government TFG, and we consider brothers. That shows: "Kalabiiq biiqeena, socday muddo" and I pray that will not happen tomorrow.

    Somaliland has the legal right to go its own way, if we fight properly and convince the world what we agreed and continue to do, which is separate state from this guagmire.

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