By: Muse Abdi
On 18 May in every year Somaliland which is self-proclaimed and unrecognized state of Somaliland celebrates its independence from the Somali Republic, which emerges from repel called Somali National Movement (SNM). After the collapsed Siad Barre regime in 1991, Somaliland has developed into one of the east Africa’s most stable country which is performed the best democracies.
If you look on a map of eastern Africa and chances are it will not land on a healthy democracy. Both Somalia and South Sudan are regarded as failed states. Sudan is a dictatorship even after the over threw of Omer Bashir’s regime, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has ruled since 1986, and plans to remove a constitutional article which exhibits the age limit so he can stick on longer. Elections in Tanzania have never kick out the Party of the Revolution, which has governed since independence in 1961. Even Kenya, once the region’s most vivacious and competitive democracy, is struggling. Eretria and Ethiopia are also in a same case.
Although Somaliland government lacks capacity and resources, Somaliland nurture an active business centers, its own currency, national army and police force, and an independent media sector capable of holding its public officials accountable. Foreign Ministry also operates liaison offices in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ethiopia. No foreign government recognizes Somaliland as sovereign nation, but many effectively acknowledge the region as separate from Somalia such as Ethiopia, UK, USA, France as well as the European Union.
Limited opportunities for foreign trade and foreign direct investment have strangled the government’s capacity to furnish services to its approximately four million residents. Somaliland has a gross domestic product (GDP) of about $360, an also it receives money from Somalilanders working abroad. Its main export is livestock, which it ships to Gulf States, such as Saudi Arabia and Oman. Its GDP per capita, in the hundreds of dollars, is one of the lowest in the world.
Meanwhile, the government will be ineligible for loans from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund as long as Somaliland is not an internationally recognized state or reconciled with Somalia.
Migration is at the heart of Somali nomadic culture. Lewis (1994) describes the livelihoods of Somali pastoralists as being characterized by strategies of mobility and dispersal that make survival possible in an extremely harsh climate. Marshal (1996) also points to the centrality of migration in Somali culture, which he then characterizes in terms of its subsistence economy, use of trade to procure necessities not domestically produced, and transhumance to adapt to climatic cycles in search of pastures. As such, Somalis form part of a nomadic culture of locating and moving between different sites that offer livelihood opportunities. Current remittances to Somaliland are the result of Somalis migrating for better employment and educational opportunities and, more recently, in search of safety.
The remittances have grown dramatically in many parts of the world for the past two decades. But still no one knows their critical roles in the development of least developed countries included all Somalis specially Somaliland are not widely known and acknowledged in the field of economics, finance and related academic studies. The importance of remittance for the people of Somaliland since the collapse of the Somali state in 1991, engendering the breakdown of all institutions including national and international payment systems (banking), cannot be denied. Remittance services have provided lifeline for the majority of poor households as they extenuate vulnerability and sustain livelihoods among the population, through timely cash payments. In other words both needy families and individuals in urban and rural localities in Somaliland receive vital small amounts of money sent by their migrant or refugee relatives from the Diaspora, particularly, from Europe, North America and the Middle East with the aim of supporting their family members back home, where most seem to endure abject poverty and low income aggravated by lack of economic and employment opportunities. In the meantime it is important to note here that remittance money tends to have significant impact on the socio-economic situation of the population particularly by empowering marginalized women as they represent the majority of recipients for most of the small amounts remitted for livelihood security.
Somaliland stands out as a role model of African state-building. The continent has eschewed the violence that convulsed its southern counterpart in favor of an inclusive and accountable government that blends Western institutions with those expressively unique to Somalia. Now Somaliland boasts a vibrant democracy and a motivated civil society that yearns for international recognition and its benefits.
About the Author
By; Muuse Cabdi.Writer, Reader, Commentator, Economics